The Politics of School Integration: Comparative Case Studies
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This book discussed desegregation as a community decision, focusing on case studies from the 1960s. Crain uses comparative techniques based on fifteen case studies of northern and southern cities. The author seeks a 'total' explanation for the decision to desegregate by determining its proximate causes and locating the roots of the decision in the economic, social, and political structure of the community. This is the first attempt to conduct a genuinely scientific analysis of the political process by which school systems were desegregated in this period. The first part of the book documents the way in which eight non-southern, big-city school systems met community demands to reduce segregation. Reactions varied from immediate compliance to months and years of stubborn resistance, some cities maintaining good relations with civil rights leaders and others becoming battlegrounds. In the second part of the book differences in these reactions are explained. The third part focuses on desegregation in the South and is a detailed study of the causes of violence in New Orleans in particular.
The situation there is contrasted with six peacefully desegregated southern cities, and the unique characteristic of New Orleans, as well as the attitude of its powerful economic elite, is explored. The concluding part of the book is a general consideration of the civil rights movement in the cities studied, and the author considers the implications of his findings, both for the future of school desegregation and for studies of community politics. Employing comparative techniques and concentrating upon the outputs of political systems, this is a highly innovative contribution to the study of community power structures and their relationship to educational systems. It remains an effective supplement to courses in sociology, political science, and education as well as an important source of data for everyone concerned with the history or efforts for national integration.
Robert L. Crain is professor emeritus of sociology at education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the author of numerous works including Stepping over the Color Line: African-American Students in White Suburban Schools and The Politics of Community Conflict.
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- ID: 9780202363653
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