Tags: cleveland | mississippi | desegregation

Cleveland, Mississippi: Desegregation of Schools Ordered By Judge

Image: Cleveland, Mississippi: Desegregation of Schools Ordered By Judge
Featured in this May 13, 2015 photo is the landscaped front of East Side High School in Cleveland, Mississippi. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 May 2016 05:13 AM

The school district in Cleveland, Mississippi, was ordered to desegregate last week, ending a five-decade legal fight some 62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported that, in a 96-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Debra Brown ordered the mostly African-American middle school and high school in the Cleveland School District in northern Mississippi to be consolidated with the traditionally white junior high school and high school.

"For the past half-century Cleveland has carried on with two sets of schools with wildly different demographics," The Atlantic magazine wrote about the school district last year. "While East Side and D.M. Smith are almost uniformly black, Cleveland High and Margaret Green Junior High, the historically white high school and middle school, have nearly even black-white splits."

"As a result, Cleveland has some of the most integrated — and some of the most segregated —public schools in the region. Over the years, the district has, for the most part, waged its end of the legal battle with half-hearted tweaks designed to encourage white enrollment," the magazine continued.

The court rejected two alternatives offered by the school district, ruling them unconstitutional, before ordering the consolidation of the schools late Friday, said a Justice Department statement on Monday.

"Six decades after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declared that 'separate but equal has no place' in public schools, this decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional," principal deputy assistant attorney general Vanita Gupta said in a Justice Department statement.

"This victory creates new opportunities for the children of Cleveland to learn, play and thrive together," added Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "The court's ruling will result in the immediate and effective desegregation of the district's middle school and high school program for the first time in the district's more than century-long history."

Holmes Adams, attorney for the Bolivar County Board of Education, told the Clarion-Ledger Monday that the board is still reviewing the opinion and has not made a decision on whether to appeal.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that many community members testified in court from 2012 to 2015 that they would like to see better integration of the schools as well as the wider 12,000-resident town.

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The school district in Cleveland, Mississippi, was ordered to desegregate last week, ending a five-decade legal fight some 62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education decision.
cleveland, mississippi, desegregation
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2016-13-18
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 05:13 AM
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