After 60 Years, Court Orders Mississippi Town to Desegregate Its Schools

Photo by AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File
A U.S. District Judge says the heavily segregated school district of Cleveland, Mississippi, has deprived generations of Black students of a quality education.

More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education’s historic ruling, a Mississippi school district has been ordered to desegregate its middle and high schools.

The New York Times reports that after 62 years of segregation, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi is requiring the Cleveland School District to combine East Side High School, where all but one student is Black, with the majority White Cleveland high school. Additionally, D.M. Smith Middle School, where all but two students are Black, with the more diversified Margaret Green Junior High School.

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“This victory creates new opportunities for the children of Cleveland to learn, play and thrive together,” Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

Families in the school district have argued that the students who attend the majority White schools receive better educational opportunities. In the Department of Justice’s decision, officials said that they found the system in place in the Cleveland School District was an “inadequate dual system.”

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"The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally guaranteed right of an integrated education,” U.S. District Judge Debra Brown wrote in the opinion. “Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.” 

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