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The Displacement of Black Educators Post-Brown: An Overview and Analysis

  • Michael Fultz
Extract

In 1951 three brief commentaries in the Journal of Negro Education drew public attention to the potentially tenuous job security of African-American educators in the South, Black professionals whose employment status was being called into question as southern educational institutions faced the prospect of desegregation. The specific incident which occasioned these commentaries was a December 1950 vote by the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville to close the segregated, all-Black Louisville Municipal College, which it had administered since that college was founded in 1931, and to integrate the two institutions' student bodies. Fourteen African-American faculty and staff at Louisville Municipal College were informed that, despite tenure or contract status, they would be given two months' severance pay and summarily dismissed. With United States Supreme Court legal precedents from the 1938 Gaines case through the 1950 Sweatt and McLauren decisions already dramatically affecting the policy context of southern higher education, and with what would become known as the “Brown Decision” looming on the horizon, what might be the consequences for all Black educators throughout the South—if the high court overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) lawyers urged?

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1 For detailed accounts of the Louisville Municipal College closing (it had been named Louisville Municipal College for Negroes until 1942), see Hudson, James Blaine III, The History of Louisville Municipal College: Events Leading to the Desegregation of the University of Louisville, (Ph.D. diss., University of Kentucky, 1981); “The Appeal of the Louisville Municipal College Faculty to the Board of Trustees,” Journal of Negro Education, 20:2 (Spring 1951): 241–248.

2 As W.E.B. DuBois asked, also in 1951 in a speech discussing the implications of recent Supreme Court rulings, “… what becomes of all the Negro teachers?” See DuBois, W.E.B.The Social Significance of These Three Cases“ (11 January 1951), in his Against Racism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1985), 281. For an overview of the Gaines case and other legal precedents garnered by NAACP attorneys in higher education cases from 1938–1950, see Kluger, Richard Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality (New York: Vintage Books, 1975). By the end of the 1952–53 school year, all but five of the state university systems in the South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina) had desegregated to some degree. See Johnson, Guy “Racial Integration in Public Higher Education in the South,” Journal of Negro Education 23:3 (Summer 1954): 317–329.

3 Cox, Oliver C.Vested Interests Involved in the Integration of Schools for Negroes,” Journal of Negro Education 20: 1 (Winter 1951): 112114. See also, Cox, Oliver C. “Negro Teachers: Martyrs to Integration?,” The Nation, Vol. 176 (April 25, 1953): 347–348.

4 This was not the first time that Alton, Illinois, was involved in a volatile dispute over segregated schooling. In fact, intraracial debates within Black communities over “voluntary” school segregation, and related issues concerning the employment of African-American teachers in integrated and “de facto” segregated schools in the North, has a long and complicated history. See, for example, August Meier and Rudwick, ElliotEarly Boycotts of Segregated Schools: The Alton, Illinois Case, 1897–1908,” Journal of Negro Education, 36: 4 (August 1967): 394402; August Meier and Rudwick, Elliot “Negro Boycotts of Jim Crow Schools in the North, 1897–1925,” Integrated Education 5:4 (August-September 1967): 57–68; Randolph, Adah Ward “Fears of Miscegenation: Black Women Educators in Columbus, Ohio (1898–1909),” in Sisters of the Academy: Emergent Black Women Scholars in Higher Education ed. Mabokela, Reitumetse O. and Green, Anna L. (Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2001): 3–27; Franklin, Vincent P. The Education of Black Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979), 128–150, 188–193. In fact, many of these considerations can discerned in the famous Roberts case in Boston in 1849–50. See Smith, Thomas P. “An Address Delivered Before the Colored Citizens of Boston in Opposition to the Abolition of Colored Schools,” Boston, 1850.

5 Thompson, Charles H.Negro Teachers and the Elimination of Segregated Schools,” Journal of Negro Education, 20: 2 (Spring 1951): 135139; idem, “The Negro Teacher and Desegregation of the Public Schools,” Journal of Negro Education 22:2 (Spring 1953): 95–101; idem, “Between Court Decision and Decree,” Journal of Negro Education, 23:4 (Fall 1954): 401–405.

6 Greenberg, JackRacial Integration of Teachers—A Growing Problem,” Journal of Negro Education, 20: 4 (Fall 1951): 584587. A fourth article on these issues also appeared in the Journal of Negro Education in 1951, Paul Cooke's “Safeguards for Negro Teachers in an Integrated School System in Washington, D.C.,” 20:4 (Fall 1951): 588–590.

7 The range of African-American educators and school staff affected included virtually all Black employees of southern state school systems. See, for example, Hooker, Robert Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States (Nashville: Race Relations Information Center, December 1970), 5; American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: AFSC, 1970), 92; Hyde County, North Carolina: School Boycott and the Roots of Conflict (Washington, D.C.: National Education Association, 1969), 36.

8 This characterization of the term “displacement” draws from the literature of common practices and policies during this period, incorporating, as well, a definition of “demotion” included in the 1970 Singleton decision, Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, 419 F.2d 1211 (1970), 1218.

9 “Ten Years in Review,” Southern School News 10:11, (May 1964): 2b. National Education Association (NEA), Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi (Washington, D.C.: NEA, November 1970), 8 (emphasis in original). A number of African-American educators of the period started calling integration “outegration,” referring to its effects on Black school staff. See, Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 18; Murray, Percy History of the North Carolina Teachers Association (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1970), 96–97.

10 The Journal of Negro Education and Southern School News are excellent sources on early trends in the displacement of African-American educators. See, for example, “The Desegregation Decision—One Year Afterward,” Journal of Negro Education 24:3 (Summer 1956), especially the “Critical Summary” by Preston Valien, 388–396; “Ten Years in Review,” 2–b.

11 The literature on the massive resistance movement and its many local and state varieties is vast. See, for example, Bartley, Numan The Rise of Massive Resistance: Race and Politics in the South During the 1950's (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969, 1997), quote on 77; Muse, Benjamin Ten Years of Prelude: The Story of Integration Since the Supreme Court's 1954 Decision (New York: Viking Press, 1964), quote on 39; Sarratt, Reed The Ordeal of Desegregation: The First Decade (New York: Harper and Row, 1966); The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia ed. Lassiter, Matthew and Lewis, Andrew B. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998). The four states which abolished their state constitutional requirements for public education were: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina; the six states which passed legislation denying funds to desegregated schools were: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia. See Douglas, Davison “The Rhetoric of Moderation: Desegregating the South During the Decade After Brown,” Northwestern University Law Review, 89:92 (1994), 92–137.

12 Perhaps no event symbolized the often symbiotic relationship between southern African-American educators and the NAACP during this period than the tragic murder on Christmas night, 1951, of Florida's NAACP state executive director Harry T. Moore and wife Harriette, who were killed by a bomb placed under the bedroom of their home. Harry Moore had begun teaching in Florida schools in 1925, and later served as a principal in various schools. In 1934, he organized and became the first president of the Brevard County branch of the NAACP and was active during the late 1930s and 1940s organizing for salary equalization and Black voting rights. In 1946, both Moore and his wife were fired from their school positions by the Brevard County school board, seemingly in retaliation for their political activities. As a portent of future trends, their ousters by the school board were officially classified as resignations. Harriette eventually returned to the classroom and was employed as a teacher, as was one of their daughters, when she and her husband were murdered. See “Bombing Kills Negro Leader; Wife Hurt in Florida Home,” New York Times, December 27, 1951, 1; Harry, T. Homesite, Moore, http://www.nbbd.com/godo/moore/bioHarry.html; Gilbert Porter and Leedell Neyland, History of the Florida State Teachers Association (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1977), 100. (Harriette Moore died nine days after her husband of injuries incurred in the bombing.) Regarding the unique middle-class status of African-American teachers in the 1950s, Southern School News reported that in Alabama in 1952 Negro teachers annual salary was $2,359 in comparison to the $2,541 for White teachers. The median income for African Americans statewide, however, was $882 compared with $2,056 for Whites. See “Negro Teacher Tenure Is Surveyed,” Southern School News, 2:5 (November 1955): 2.

13 Congress, American Jewish Assault Upon Freedom of Association: A Study of the Southern Attack on the NAACP (New York: American Jewish Congress, 1957), 16; Southern School News, 2:2 (August 1955): 4; ibid, 2:3 (September 1955): 16; “Teacher Problems,” NAACP Press Releases, dated July 12, 1955, July 15, 1955, August 18, 1955, Papers of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Collection, Manuscript Division, IIc427, Library of Congress; “School Desegregation,” Crisis 62:7 (August-September, 1955): 430; Gandy, Willard “Implications of Integration for the Southern Teacher,” Journal of Negro Education, 31:2 (Spring 1962): 195. Printed on back of teachers’ annual contracts, the oath had to be renewed annually.

14 Douglas, The Rhetoric of Moderation: Desegregating the South During the Decade After Brown” lists 10 states which passed legislation designed to harass the NAACP: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, mentioning that 6 of these states demanded disclosure of membership lists, 113. Bartley, The Rise of Massive Resistance states that 5 states required the NAACP to provide membership lists: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. See also “The NAACP vs. Alabama,” Crisis, 63:7 (August-September 1956): 418419; “New Threat to Civil Liberties, 1956,” NAACP Annual Report, 48th Year (New York: NAACP, 1956), 5, 27–28. According to Morris, Aldon in his The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement (New York: The Free Press, 1984), 33–34, persecution of the NAACP did have short-term effects: between 1955 and 1957, membership in the Association within southern states dropped from 128,716 to 79,677, from 45 percent of the Association's total membership to around 28 percent. Moreover, between 1955 and 1958, the NAACP lost approximately 246 branches in the South. The literature is abundant on acts of intimidation and reprisal against African-Americans for their civil rights activities in the 1950s and 1960s. See, for example, American Friends Service Committee et al., Intimidation, Reprisal, and Violence in the South's Racial Crisis (High Point, N.C.: AFSC, 1959) and Bartley, Glenda The Continuing Crisis: An Assessment of New Racial Tensions in the South (Atlanta: Southern Regional Council, 1966).

15 Crisis, 63:6 (June-July 1956): 334335; American Jewish Congress, Assault Upon Freedom of Association, 21; Southern Education Reporting Service (SERS), A Statistical Summary, State by State, of School Segregation-Desegregation in the Southern and Border Area from 1954 to the Present (Nashville: SERS, Thirteenth revision, 1963–64); Patterson, Thomas E. History of the Arkansas Teachers Association (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1981), 112. A copy of another late 1950s questionnaire similar to the one used in the Elloree school district can be found in Reel 13, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3 Campaign for Educational Equality, Series D: Central Office Records, 1956–1965. This questionnaire was prepared by the White Citizens’ Council, 4th Congressional District, Louisiana, and sent to all teachers and public officials in the 4th District.

16 See NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958), http://laws.findlaw.com.us/357/449.html; Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516 (1960), http://laws.findlaw.com/us/361/516.html; Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479 (1960), http://laws.findlaw.com/us/364/479.html. The Bates case firmly substantiated NAACP arguments, noting that “substantial uncontroverted evidence [had been presented] that public identification of persons in the community as members of the organizations had been followed by harassment and threats of bodily harm,” and that fear of hostility and reprisals had a chilling effect on the Association's ability to sustain membership.

17 NEA, Analysis of Teacher Tenure Provisions: State and Local (Washington, D.C.: NEA, June 1954), 1220.

18 “Negro Teacher Tenure Is Surveyed,” Southern School News, 2:5 (November, 1955): 2; NEA, Wilcox County, Alabama: A Study of Social, Economic, and Educational Bankruptcy (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1967), 20, 51. In its ten-year review, Southern School News, 10:11 (May 1964): 5–b, found that by the 1964, six southern states had abolished their teacher tenure protections: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. See also “Teacher Tenure and Contracts: A Summary of State Statutes,” (NEA Research Division, School Law Series, Research Report 1971–R3); Gandy, “Implications of Integration for the Southern Teacher,” Journal of Negro Education, 195. Even states with some degree of tenure protections attempted to bypass their own procedures when dealing with African-American teachers. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report, Civil Rights, USA: Public Schools, Southern States, 1962 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1962), 47, revealed that a common strategy in Kentucky in the 1950s was simply to avoid giving any more African-American teachers tenure, sometimes offering Black teachers a series of two-year contracts, sometimes firing Black teachers before tenure offers had to be made.

19 SERS, A Statistical Summary, map on front cover, 2. “Ten Years in Review,” 2–b.

20 Detweiler, John S.The Negro Teacher and the 14th Amendment,” Journal of Negro Education, 36: 1 (Winter 1967): 405; Ethridge, Samuel B. “Impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Decision on Black Educators,” Negro Educational Review, 30:4 (October, 1979): 219; “Teacher Problems,” NAACP Press Releases, September 17, 1959; November 19, 1959; Southern School News, 2:6 (December 1955): 14–15; Southern School News 2:11 (May 1956): 8; Southern School News, 6:5 (November 1959): 5. Around the same time the Moberly case was in the courts, Southern School News 2:12 (June 1956): 12, reported that the state Attorney General in Kentucky was seeking a test case to determine how the Brown decisions effected tenure considerations in his state. The Newport, Kentucky, board of education had decided to close a Black school and wanted to know whether they had any obligation to employ three Black teachers with continuing service contracts, and “place them in classrooms where White children are in attendance.”

21 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 3.

22 See Lieberman, MyronSegregation's Challenge to the NEA,” School and Society, 81 (May 28, 1955): 167; idem, “Civil Rights for the NEA,” School and Society, 85 (May 11, 1957): 166–169; Schultz, Michael John The National Education Association and the Black Teacher: The Integration of a Professional Organization (Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1970), 67–145; Jorgenson, Lloyd P. “The Social and Economic Orientation of the NEA,” Progressive Education, 34 (July 1959): 98–101; Groff, Patrick “The NEA and School Desegregation,” Journal of Negro Education, 29:2 (Spring 1960): 181–186. The NEA's organizational silence extended beyond the annual meetings and included NEA publications: between 1952 and 1957, for example the NEA Journal published no commentaries on the desegregation controversies swirling around the nation, solely reprinting Brown I once, without comment; likewise, a 55–page survey of trends in teacher tenure published by the NEA Research Division in 1957 totally neglected to mention the abrogation of teacher protections taking place in the South. See Trends in Teacher Tenure Thru Legislation and Court Decision (Washington, D.C.: NEA Research Division, 1957). Southern Black NEA delegates were said to face the possibility of reprisals back home if they supported a strong integration resolution at the annual conventions. See McDaniel, Vernon History of the Teachers State Association of Texas (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1977), 60–61.

23 NEA, Addresses and Proceedings of the 102 Annual Meeting, 1964 (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1964), 1921, 179–190, 370–372, 444–445. Allowing segregated affiliates had been NEA policy since 1951 when, acting upon a recommendation from a Joint Committee of the NEA and the American Teachers Association (ATA), the latter the nation's umbrella Black educational organization, the NEA had allowed Black state teachers groups to join as separate units, since African Americans were not allowed to join White teacher associations in southern states. See NEA, Proceedings of the 89th Annual Meeting, 1951 (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1951), 135–137, 207–208, 297–298. By Brown I, 15 southern states and the District of Columbia each had two NEA affiliates; by 1964, the dual state teacher associations in Oklahoma, Maryland, Delaware, and Kentucky had merged, and in April of that year the Florida Education Association removed the word “White” from its membership requirements, the first non-border state to do so in the South. Schultz, See The NEA and the Black Teacher, 57, 64; Jorgenson, “The Social and Economic Orientation of the NEA,” 101; Southern School News 10:11 (May 1964): 1; SERS, A Statistical Summary, 21.

24 On the mergers, and the debates within Black associations seeking future protections for their members, see Murray, History of the North Carolina Teachers Association, 116128; McDaniel, History of the Teachers State Association of Texas, 110–112; Southern School News, 2:6 (December 1955): 15; Southern School News, 2:11 (May 1956): 13; Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 16. In 1966, the ATA and the NEA merged, following the broad guidelines laid out in Resolution 12. See Perry, Thelma D. History of the American Teachers Association (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1975).

25 For Johnson's speech see, Addresses and Proceedings of the 103rd Annual Meeting, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1965), 10. This 1965 convention also passed a resolution, seemingly for the first time during the displacement crisis, opposing “the unfair dismissal of any teacher.” See Resolution 24, 418. See also, Report of Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States (Washington, D.C.: NEA, December 1965), 41.

26 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Survey of School Desegregation in the Southern and Border States, 1965–66 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1966), 2–3.

27 National Education Association (NEA), Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power, A Special Study in East Texas (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1970), 25.

28 See National Education Association, Report of Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States (Washington, D.C.: NEA, December 1965), quotes on 25. On forced resignations of Black teachers, and the “silencing” effect of their need for positive referrals, see also, Baxter, AlbertStatus and Characteristics of Displaced Negro Teachers in Arkansas, 1954–1968“ (Ph.D. diss., University of Arkansas, 1970), 2324.

29 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 1. The other major reports were: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: AFSC, 1970); NEA, Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power, A Special Study in East Texas; and National Education Association, Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1970).

30 For early 20th century patterns on the racial diversion of educational funding in the South, see Negro Education: A Study of the Private and Higher Schools for Colored Persons in the United States, U.S. Office of Education, Bulletin 1916, Vols. 38, 39 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1917), 27–29. With regard to 1950s and 1960s patterns of teacher displacement, as the NEA report on Wilcox County, Alabama succinctly comments, “State legislators from Wilcox County and other Black Belt counties have had more influence on the educational affairs of the state than is justified by the actual number of persons who, in the past, have had the franchise in the districts they represent.” See NEA, Wilcox County, Alabama: A Study of Social, Economic, and Educational Bankruptcy (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1967), 87. See also, Doddy, Hurley H. “Desegregation and the Employment of Negro Teachers,” Journal of Negro Education 24:4 (Fall 1955): 405–408; Bartley, The Rise of Massive Resistance, 17–20; Benjamin Muse, Ten Years of Prelude (1964), 66.

31 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 11; NEA, Report of the Task Force Survey, 27, 39; Patterson, History of the Arkansas Teachers Association, 150; AFSC et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, 85–86.

32 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 1 6; Morris, EddieFacts and Factors of Faculty Desegregation in Kentucky, 1955–1965,” Journal of Negro Education, 36:1 (Winter 1967), quote on 76. See also, AFSC et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, 84, 89, 103; Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 20–21; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Civil Rights, USA: Public Schools, Southern States, 1962, 48; Baxter, Status and Characteristics of Displaced Negro Teachers in Arkansas, 1954–1968, 25; Ethridge, Samuel B. “Impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Decision on Black Educators,” Negro Educational Review, 30:4 (October 1979): 222; NEA, Beyond Desegregation, 23, 27.

33 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 2, 510; reprint of Brief Amicus Curiae for the NEA in Hearings Before the Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity of the U.S. Senate, Part 10, Displacement and the Present Status of Black School Principals in Desegregated School Districts (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1971), 5041–5051. See also, Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States 32; Alabama League for the Advancement of Education, The Slow Death of the Black Educator in Alabama (Montgomery: By the author, 1971). SERS, A Statistical Summary, 1963–64, 33, reported that in Missouri, while numerous rural Black teachers were being displaced, employment opportunities were opening in St. Louis and Kansas City. Between 1954 and 1962, the proportion of African-American teachers in St. Louis had increased from 33 to 44 percent, and from 1959 to 1962, the percentage of African-American teachers in Kansas City increased from 18 to 24 percent.

34 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 6 12; NEA, Report of the Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States, 28. Porter, Gilbert and Neyland, Leedell History of the Florida State Teachers Association (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1977), 124, state the Florida legislature repealed the mandate for NTE use in 1968. They add (147), expressing a sentiment frequently voiced by African-American educators in the South during this period, “Many Blacks did not see the test as a measure designed to improve the quality of teaching, but rather as a punitive device designed to eliminate a large number of them from the teaching profession.” Boyd Bosma in Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation: The Role of Teacher Associations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1980), 9, gives the date that Florida repealed NTE testing as 1966. Both Bosma and the RRIC study state that the law was revoked mainly because of low scores among White test takers, with RRIC reporting that low scores among White test takers had also led two Louisiana counties to discontinue use of the test. See also Scott Baker's illuminating discussion, “Testing Equality: The National Teacher Examination and the NAACP's Legal Campaign to Equalize Teachers’ Salaries in the South, 1936–1963,” History of Education Quarterly, 35:1 (Spring 1995): 49–64, for a thorough examination of the efforts by testing specialist Ben D. Wood to recruit southern states to use the NTE, and thereby undermine the Black teachers’ salary equalization drive.

35 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 1 34.

36 Hearings Before the Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity of the U.S. Senate, quotes on 4906, 4907; “Vanishing Black Principals and Teachers in the South,” School and Society, 97, #2321 (December 1969): 470. See also, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Displacement of Black Educators in Desegregating Public Schools (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1972); Alabama League for the Advancement of Education, The Slow Death of the Black Educator in Alabama; James, J.C. “Another Vanishing American: The Black Principal,” New Republic, 163 (Issue 2902) (September 26, 1970): 17–20; Egerton, John “When Desegregation Comes, the Negro Principals Go,” Southern Education Report 3:5 (December 1967): 8–12; Orr, Joseph “The Displacement of Black High School Principals in Selected Florida Counties and Its Relation to Public School Desegregation Within Them: 1967–1972” (Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, 1972); Tippitt, Albert “The Extent of the Relationship of Certain Factors to the Displacement of Black School Principals in the Public Schools of Virginia from 1953 to 1970” (Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1971); Childs, Walter III, “The Relationship Between Public School Desegregation and the Displacement of Black High School Principals in Selected North Carolina School Districts, 1967–1977” (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina-Greensboro, 1979); Dwyer, Robert J. “White Teachers in Desegregated Schools,” Sociology and Social Research 44:5 (May-June 1960): 348–351.

37 AFSC et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, 75, 78–80; National Education Association, Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 5, 8–14; Hearings Before the Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity of the U.S. Senate, 4942–4943; Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 4. James, “Another Vanishing American: The Black Principal,” 20. Both the AFSC and Louisiana and Mississippi reports provided vivid examples of demotions former Black principals endured. The context of the times clearly demanded an exasperated sense of humor: some Black principals were becoming “assistant to the superintendent in charge of light bulbs and erasers,” one observer remarked, while Rims Barber, a representative of the Delta Ministry, observed that in Mississippi, “co-principal is short for colored principal.”

38 For discussions of these matters, see Punke, Harold The Teacher and the Courts (Danville, Il.: The Interstate Printers & Publishers, 1971), 265286; “Discrimination in the Hiring and Assignment of Teachers in Public School Systems,” Michigan Law Review, 64, February 1966, 692–702; Detweiler, John S. “The Negro Teacher and the Fourteenth Amendment,” Journal of Negro Education, 36:4 (1967): 403–409 (quote on 403). A number of legal authorities noted that Brown II mentions “personnel” matters as a possible criterion in fashioning desegregation plans, but through the mid-1960s no case before the high court had undertaken this potentially advantageous approach. On the slow pace of the federal bureaucracy, see Orfield, Gary The Reconstruction of Southern Education: The Schools and the 1964 Civil Rights Act (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1969), 16–22; Bartley, The Rise of Massive Resistance, 61–63.

39 On the significance of Board of Public Instruction of Duval County, Florida v. Braxton, 326 F2d 616 (5th Cir. 1964), see, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, “Discriminatory Practices in Teacher Hiring and Assignment: Case Law and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Reel 13, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3, Campaign for Educational Equality, Series D: Central Office Records, 1956–1965; “Racial Factors in Teacher Assignment,” NEA Research Bulletin (May 1966), 42; “Teacher Assignments by Race Held Illegal,” Southern School News, 10:8 (February 1964): 1. On Bradley v. School Board, 382 U.S. 103 (1965), see “Discrimination in the Hiring and Assignment of Teachers in Public School Systems,” Michigan Law Review, 695–696; “Racial Factors in Teacher Assignment,” NEA Research Bulletin (May 1966), 42–43; Detweiler, “The Negro Teacher and the 14th Amendment,” 404–406.

40 Johnson was a twelve-year veteran high school English teacher whom the defendant school board acknowledged was well qualified and conscientious. She did not have her contract renewed—the defendants at first refused to say she was fired—allegedly for failure to stand in the doorway of her classroom and supervise students changing class. At the time she was dismissed, Mrs. Johnson was very politically active, as were her husband and father; she was secretary of the local branch of the NAACP and a founder of the Halifax County Voters Movement. See, Johnson v Branch, 364 F.2d 177 (1966); Lamanna, RichardThe Negro Public School Teacher and School Desegregation: A Survey of Negro Teachers in North Carolina“ (Ph.D. diss. University of North Carolina, 1965), 39; Murray, History of the North Carolina Teachers Association, 94. Johnson eventually receiving $20,000 in an out-of-court settlement, the first such compensation paid to a African-American plaintiff.

41 On the Morrilton case, Smith v. Board of Education of Morrilton School District No. 32 (Eighth Circuit, 1966) see, Detweiler, “The Negro Teacher and the Fourteenth Amendment,” 406; Patterson, History of the Arkansas Teachers Association, 156. The Detweiler article cites the Morrilton appeals court as firmly rejecting certain criteria southern school boards used to determine teacher qualifications, repudiating whimsical arguments concerning “differing speech patterns,” and assertions that “Negro teachers don't understand the problems of White children.” See footnote 11, 406.

42 See, Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, 419 F.2d 1211 (1970); HEW, Displacement of Black Educators in Desegregating Public Schools, 7; NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 16; Ethridge, “Impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Decision on Black Educators,” 220; Orfield, The Reconstruction of Southern Education, 136. According to Carter v. West Feliciana Parish School Board, 432 F.2nd 875 1970, at 878, the Singleton requirement was not to be interpreted as freezing faculty ratios forever at levels present when faculty desegregation first took place; rather, after initial faculty desegregation was accomplished and after unitary status was achieved, the systemwide ratio would change as a result of the nondiscriminatory application of objective merit standards.

43 See National Education Association et al. v State of South Carolina, 434 US 1028. For unspecified reasons, Justices Marshall and Blackman did not participate. On competency testing in the 1980s, see Smith, G. PritchyThe Impact of Competency Testing on Teacher Education: Ethical and Legal Issues in Selecting and Certifying Teachers,” in Handbook of Research in Teacher Education ed. Haberman, Martin (London: Collier Macmillan, 1990), quote on 224; Rodman, Blake “Teaching's ‘Endangered Species',” Education Week November 20, 1985, 1, 11–12; Baratz, Joan “Black Participation in the Teacher Pool,” unpublished paper for the Carnegie Forum's Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, January 1986.

44 Orfield, The Reconstruction of Southern Education, 33 138139; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, “Discriminatory Practices in Teacher Hiring and Assignment: Case Law and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

45 Orfield, The Reconstruction of Southern Education, 69 74, 85–108, 139 (quote on 107); “Negro Teacher Losing Jobs in Several States,” Southern School News 11:12 (June 1965): 1; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, “Discriminatory Practices in Teacher Hiring and Assignment: Case Law and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” See also June 7, 1965 letter from Pohlhaus, J. Francis counsel, Washington Bureau NAACP to Gloster Current, Director of Branches, NAACP, and June 14, 1965 “Memo to Southern Staff from Mr. Current,” and both of which mention a “crisis” among southern African-American educators in the aftermath of the pessimistic assessment of HEW legal remedies. Reel 13, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3, Campaign for Educational Equality, Series D: Central Office Records, 1956–1965.

46 Orfield, The Reconstruction of Southern Education, 135141. Even after the 1966 guidelines were issued, southern school authorities and politicians still questioned whether federal administrators had the authority to address issues of faculty desegregation. See Baxter, Status and Characteristics of Displaced Negro Teachers in Arkansas, 17–22. For the 1971 guidelines, see Pottinger, StanleyNon Discrimination in Elementary and Secondary School Staffing Practices,” Integrated Education 9:3 (March-June 1971): 52–54. For criticism of HEW's lack of active investigation of violations, see AFSC, The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970,75–77.

47 Bosma, Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation, 10; Ethridge, “Impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Decision on Black Educators,” 220;! Note that the literature is replete with criticisms of unchecked violations of both the spirit of the Singleton decision and the HEW guidelines. The AFSC report, The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, for example, discovered “substantial deviations” from Singleton in 39 percent of monitored districts. Bosma, in Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation, noted that many southern school districts were allowed to make a mockery of Singleton's demand for “objective” merit ratings, with, in one extreme case, Black teachers in one school evaluated six times in the same week. Similarly, a number of sources indicted that Singleton was being misused insofar as the ratio was being applied when White teachers voluntarily resigned to take jobs in the all-White academies that were springing up. See, for example, Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 12, 27; NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 16–21. At their best the new laws and guidelines put limits on the practices of southern school boards and superintendents such as one quoted in the NEA's Task Force III Louisiana and Mississippi report saying he wanted only “‘a speck of Black teachers, as few as the law allows.’” (20). They also may have played a role in increasing the numbers of Black educators outside the region. See endnote 51.

48 The RRIC report, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, repeatedly mentions the difficulty of obtaining hard data (quotes on 1–2), and what it calls as the “timidity and conservatism of many Black teachers.” I would argue that this characterization is overly harsh, given that the report also provides this elaboration, substantiated in other sources: “Black teachers usually hang back. If they have been demoted, they fear the loss of their job. If they have been dismissed, they fear being put on the ‘Black list,’ that unwritten understanding among White superintendents not to recommend ‘trouble-makers’ to one another. They fear for their families’ physical safely, and they fear the power of the White creditor.” See also, NEA, Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power; A Special Study in East Texas, quote on 39. Bosma, Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation, adds to the list of reasons why some African-American educators were hesitant to come forth, mentioning, in addition to the issues above, lack of public awareness of sources of assistance, discouragement because of doubts of an adequate response from federal authorities, and problems of time and expense. Also, some did not want to acknowledge their difficulties because of embarrassment or other personal reasons. Childs, in “The Relationship Between Public School Desegregation and the Displacement of Black High School Principals in Selected North Carolina School Districts,” notes that 15 of the principals in his study refused to consider themselves “displaced” although they were demoted to positions “lower” than the jobs they formerly occupied (59). On the difficulties of obtaining data on the southern school scene post-Brown, see, for example, Leeson, JimRecords by Race: To Keep or Not,” Southern Education Report 2:2 (September 1966): 2932; Orfield, The Reconstruction of Southern Education, 60.

49 Fourteenth Census of the U.S., 1920, Vol. 4, Occupations (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1923), Table 1; Fifteenth Census of the U.S., 1930, Population Vol. 4, Occupations by State (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1933), Table 11; Sixteenth Census of the U.S., 1940, Population, Vol. 3 The Labor Force (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1943), Table 13 in Parts 2–5; Report of the Seventeenth Decennial Census of the United States, Census of Population: 1950, Volume II, Characteristics of the Population (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1952), Table 77 in Parts 2–50; The Eighteenth Decennial Census of the United States, Census of Population: 1960, Volume I, Characteristics of the Population (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1963), Table 122 in Parts 2–52; 1970 Census of Population, Volume 1, Characteristics of the Population (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1973), Table 171 in Parts 2–52. Calculations by author.

50 Ethridge, “Impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Decision on Black Educators,” 223–229. Interestingly, the Ethridge-Bosma analyses also indicated that Boston and New York City were among the “most flagrant violators” of equitable employment practices for African-American educators.

51 For an overview of the forces transforming the rural South, see Daniel, Pete Breaking the Land: The Transformation of Cotton, Tobacco, and Rice Cultures since 1880 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985). On issues of teacher supply and demand, see Research Division NEA, “Teacher Supply and Demand in Public Schools, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: NEA, 1970). For an intriguing but somewhat preliminary argument, suggesting that the growth of Black political power in the 1960s raised the demand for Black schoolteachers, offsetting some of the declines due to biased policies of desegregation, see Freeman, Richard B. “Political Power, Desegregation, and the Employment of Black Schoolteachers,” Journal of Political Economy, 85:2 (April 1977): 299–322. Note that as a percentage of all African-American teachers in the United States, those in the South dropped from 88.5 percent in 1950 to 65.8 percent in 1970. At least some officials at historically Black colleges believed that the increase of Black teachers outside the South was attributable, in part, to attempts to comply with HEW guidelines, adding that recruiters would not put forth this “‘effort except that someone is prodding them a little.’” See Campbell, Robert and Richardson, Frank “How Are Negro Teachers Faring?” Southern Education Report, 4:5 (December 1968): 25. It is possible that the growth of Black political power outside the South in the 1960s, along with the pressures of migration, urbanization, and urban riots, were factors in this regard.

52 Doddy, Hurley H. and Edwards, G. FranklinApprehensions of Negro Teachers Concerning Desegregation in South Carolina,” Journal of Negro Education, 24: 1, (Winter 1955): 2643, quote on 29; Almond quoted in Argument: The Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1952–1955 ed. Leon Friedman (New York: Chelsea House, 1969), 99. The New York Times next-day coverage of the Brown decision cited a variety of sources, including the governor of Texas and the state superintendent of education in Alabama, with negative, quasi-threatening predictions regarding the fate of African-American educators. See “School Bias Issue Has Complexities,” May 18, 1954, 22. Jack Greenberg has acknowledged that NAACP attorneys realized in advance “that school integration would create problems for Black teachers… [but] we didn't fully appreciate how serious this problem would become.” See Greenberg, Jack Crusaders in the Courts (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 85.

53 Gandy, Implications of Integration for the Southern Teacher,” 193. Throughout the mid-to-late 1950s, a number of notable African-American leaders, in addition to JNE editor Thompson, Charles attempted to minimize the prospect of displacement or otherwise reassure Black educators that their jobs were not in jeopardy. See, for example, views of NAACP leader Roy Wilkins and others cited in Rosenthal, Jonas O.Negro Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Desegregation,” Journal of Negro Education 26:1 Winter 1957, 64; Johnson, Charles “Some Significant Social and Educational Implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision,“ Journal of Negro Education 23:3 (Summer 1954): 364–371. (To Johnson's credit, though, he also offers some profound observations and predictions, including the particularly prescient remark that, “We may wisely prepare ourselves for a period of myth-mongering and fantastic stories of racial ineptitude,” 368.) Even Thurgood Marshall implicitly noted the overarching dilemma. In announcing the inauguration in January 1955 of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Department of Teacher Information and Security, Marshall stated that he believed this initiative was needed “… so as to eliminate any fear Negro teachers might have regarding the possible loss of their jobs and to avoid any friction that might arise in the process of desegregation.” See Crisis, 62:2 (February 1955): 103–104. See also Davis, John “Protecting the Negro Teacher,” Journal of Negro Education 25:2 (Spring 1956): 182–184.

54 Report of Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States, 23. Emphasis in original. On retaining White symbols and cleaning formerly all-Black schools, see Gaston, Paul M.The Region in Perspective,” in The South and Her Children: School Desegregation, 1970–71 ed. Council, Southern Regional (Atlanta: Southern Regional Council, 1971), 517, quote on 9. See also Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 24–25, 27–31 for a discussion of the underutilization of formerly all-Black schools and related practices. Both Gaston and the Louisiana and Mississippi report also take note of an escalating use of tracking in southern schools, a means by which African-Americans were marginalized and segregated within the ostensibly desegregated “White” schools, with surviving Black teachers often assigned to newly tracked classrooms. See also, Council, Southern Regional Testing… Grouping: The New Segregation in Southern Schools (Atlanta: Southern Regional Council, 1976).

55 On rates of college training, see Ashmore, Harry S. The Negro and the Schools, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1954), 158. See also, Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 14; Long, Herman H. “On the Emergence of New Hope and Challenge in the Current Revolution,” in Second National NEA-PR&R Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Education,” 13; AFSC et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, 87.

56 “Interview with Louisville's School Superintendent Dr. Omer Carmichael: Is ‘Voluntary’ Integration the Answer?” U.S. News and World Report, October 5, 1956, both quotes on 142. Lawrence, David the conservative founder of U.S. News, later circulated a vicious oped commentary centered on Carmichael's interview, calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether because of the prospect of faculty desegregation, White children were potentially being deprived of equal educational opportunities. See “White vs. Negro Teachers as Estimated in Louisville,” Reel 13, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3 Campaign for Educational Equality, Series D: Central Office Records, 1956–1965. For another variant of the cultural deprivation argument applied to African-American teachers, see the Virginia section of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Civil Rights, USA: Public Schools, Southern States, 1962, 180–181, 209: “Often culturally deprived themselves, these [Black] teachers have little cultural breadth to import to their students.”

57 Superintendent of Schools in Asheboro, North Carolina announcing 12 Black teachers would not be rehired, quoted in Southern School News, 11:12 (June 1965): 20. Likewise, according to a 1956 editorial in the Montgomery Advertiser, it was not true “that Negroes were discriminated against but precisely the reverse. Their qualifications were weighted equally with those of White teachers… they were fired because they were found wanting…. Displacement of Negro teachers is one of the inevitable byproducts of desegregation.” See Reel 13, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3 Campaign for Educational Equality, Series D: Central Office Records, 1956–1965. A varient of this argument was to suggest that African-American educators received a “kind of special protection” from segregation and that once dual systems of schooling were dismantled, Black teachers would “… have to bring themselves up to the standards of the White community.” See Southern School News, 11:12 (June 1965): 8. See also Colberg, Marshall Human Capital in Southern Development, 1939–1963 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965), 72–73, who describes racial segregation as acting “like a protective tariff for the southern non-White teacher, holding down competition strongly and providing a sort of monopoly advantage.” Neither perspective considers that de jure segregation served as a “special protection” for White teachers as well.

58 James, Another Vanishing American: The Black Principal,” 20. On Black colleges as “academic disaster areas,” see Jencks, Christopher and Reisman, DavidThe American Negro College,” Harvard Educational Review 37: 1, (Winter 1967): 360; see also Wright, Stephen J. et al, “‘The American Negro College': Four Responses and a Reply,” Harvard Educational Review, 37:3, (Summer 1967): 451–468.

59 Cox, Vested Interests Involved in the Integration of Schools for Negroes,” 112; Herman Long, Second National NEA-PR&R Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Education, 13; Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 6.

60 National Education Association, Report of Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States, 22; Daniel, Pete Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 193; Gupton, Fred Trends in Public School Teaching Personnel (Nashville: George Peabody College for Teachers, 1955), 174–177, 214–217; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Civil Rights, USA: Public Schools, Southern States, 1962, 35; Bosnia, Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation, 6.

61 Gandy, Implications of Integration for the Southern Teacher,” reported a 1954 questionnaire in which 128 of 131 North Carolina school superintendents stated that they “would find it impractical to use Negro teachers.” To tell African-American educators that their services were “no longer needed“ was commonplace. See, for example, AFSC et al., The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 85.

62 Greenberg, Racial Integration of Teachers—A Growing Problem,” 585.

63 “Vanishing Black Principals and Teachers in the South,” School and Society, 470; Middleton, Ernest History of the Louisiana Education Association (Washington, D.C.; NEA, 1984), 110; Bosma, Planning for and Implementing Effective School Desegregation, 6; Report of Task Force Survey of Teacher Displacement in Seventeen States, 25. Community cohesion was also tested, and complaints arose, over faculty desegregation practices characterized as a “brain drain”: Black teachers deemed most highly qualified were transferred to formerly all-White schools, while, White teachers said to be less able either in terms of experience or training were transferred to formerly all-Black schools. See U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Civil Rights, USA: Public Schools, Southern States, 1962, 35; Report of NEA Task Force III, School Desegregation: Louisiana and Mississippi, 21; NEA, Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power; A Special Study in East Texas, 27. I thank an anonymous HEQ reviewer for highlighting this issue.

64 Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States, 6. Although many have argued that teaching declined as an attractive option for young, aspiring African Americans because previously restricted opportunities were being forced open in a broad range of professional occupations, it was also the case that prospective Black teachers were increasingly uncertain about their future prospects in unitary school systems viewed as latently hostile. On the lack of correlation between displacement and Black teachers’ and principals’ levels of training, experience, ratings of college, age, family status, or other criteria, including sometimes even NTE scores, see Baxter, Status and Characteristics of Displaced Negro Teachers in Arkansas, 97–102; Orr, The Displacement of Black High School Principals in Selected Florida Counties, 56–57; McDaniel, History of the Teachers State Association of Texas, 64–69; Tippitt, The Extent of the Relationship of Certain Factors to the Displacement of Black School Principals in the Public Schools of Virginia, 82–87; AFSC, The Status of School Desegregation in the South, 1970, 86.

65 Keppel, FrancisThe Role of Integration in Education,” Second National NEA-PR&R Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Education, 11; Gaston, “The Region in Perspective,” 9; Childs, The Relationship Between Public School Desegregation and the Displacement of Black High School Principals, 4–5; James, “Another Vanishing American: The Black Principal,” 19.

66 Quote from reprint of Brief Amicus Curiae for the National Education Association in Hearings Before the Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity of the U.S. Senate, 5084–5085.

67 Carter, Robert L.A Reassessment of Brown v. Board,” in Shades of Brown: New Perspectives on School Desegregation ed. Bell, Derrick (New York: Teachers College Press, 1980), 2123.

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History of Education Quarterly
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