Item description for The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 by Charles C. Bolton...
Race has shaped public education in the Magnolia State, from Reconstruction through the Carter Administration. For The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 Charles C. Bolton mines newspaper accounts, interviews, journals, archival records, legal and financial documents, and other sources to uncover the complex story of one of Mississippi's most significant and vexing issues.
This history closely examines specific events---the after-math of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the 1966 protests and counter-demonstrations in Grenada, and the efforts of particular organizations---and carefully considers the broader picture.
Despite a "separate but equal" doctrine established in the late nineteenth century, the state's racially divided school systems quickly developed vast differences in terms of financing, academic resources, teacher salaries, and quality of education. As one of the nation's poorest states, Mississippi coul
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Oct 7, 2005
Publisher University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 1934110744 ISBN13 9781934110744
Availability 86 units. Availability accurate as of May 29, 2017 12:04.
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More About Charles C. Bolton
Charles C. Bolton is Director of the Mississippi Oral History Program and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980?
Mississippi's fight to preserve segregated schools Jul 18, 2007
This was required reading for a graduate course in American history.
In this book Charles C. Bolton explores Mississippi's efforts to equalize its segregated schools in order to buttress their argument that these schools are separate but equal. Prior to 1950, efforts to equalize schools concentrated on equalizing spending on the schools. In the post-war period until the 1954 Brown decision, the southern states began to focus on other tangibles of school equalization such as facilities, school consolidation allowing for larger, graded schools and teacher salaries.
The book cites a plethora of evidence of how far the state had to go to bridge the huge crevice between Black and White schools and the many statistics that showed how they failed in this effort. Mr. Bolton notes that the state did not have the resources to bridge the gap and did not want to use federal funding for fear of losing control of their Jim Crow policies. The gap was further exacerbated by funding a great deal of school consolidations for white schools from 1910 until 1944 and allowing 97% of black schools to remain unconsolidated. However, the 1938 Supreme Court decision on Gaines vs. Canada, which held that Missouri's lack of a black law school failed the separate but equal test and post-war calls for better educational opportunities for returning veterans, urged on a redoubling of efforts towards the equalization program.
Interestingly, the White leadership looked for support from Black leaders to maintain Jim Crow education before they were willing to commit millions of dollars toward an equalization program. Recognizing the need for a consolidation in Black schools, the leadership of these schools held private funding campaigns such as fish fries in order to raise the money. The Black leadership also knew that, although they were on their own, by doing so, they did not have to hand over any management functions to White authorities.
A good example explaining why the states equalization efforts were such an abysmal failure occurred in 1946. In that year three million dollars was approved to fund construction improvements in Black schools. However, no mechanism for assuring that counties spent the money on Black school equalization was created. Consequently, only thirty-five percent of this funding was used for the Equalization Program. A similar program to improve salaries for Black schools also failed because of the lack of an enforcement mechanism.
It was not until 1950 that state funding was found to get allocated to Black schools as the state legislature had approved. "By 1953 the total state funds that had been spent on school construction since 1946 were almost evenly divided between black and white projects". 1953 improvements in Black teacher salaries did not have such a positive outcome. Of $2.24 million dispersed to the counties only about half of the funding was spent on improvements in teacher salaries. Furthermore, no money was earmarked for consolidating Black schools away from the one-room schools, a key component of any equalization argument.
In concluding the book, Bolton argues that the state's Equalization Program failures " exacerbated black discontent with the Jim Crow schools." The movement of Black schools to make way for new construction of White schools in spite of lip service to equalization further angered Blacks and resulted in Court action. This anger and the sympathy of a wary national public, whose collective consciousness knew equal educational opportunities were critical to a functional Democracy, led to a public demand for change. This public demand and the consequent Court action, laid down the precedent needed for change.
Recommended reading for anyone interested in American history, civil rights history.