The United States Supreme Court's 1954 landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, set into motion a process of desegregation that would eventually transform American public schools. This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of how Brown's most visible effect--contact between students of different racial groups--has changed over the fifty years since the decision.
Using both published and unpublished data on school enrollments from across the country, Charles Clotfelter uses measures of interracial contact, racial isolation, and segregation to chronicle the changes. He goes beyond previous studies by drawing on heretofore unanalyzed enrollment data covering the first decade after Brown, calculating segregation for metropolitan areas rather than just school districts, accounting for private schools, presenting recent information on segregation within schools, and measuring segregation in college enrollment.
Two main conclusions emerge. First, interracial contact in American schools and colleges increased markedly over the period, with the most dramatic changes occurring in the previously segregated South. Second, despite this change, four main factors prevented even larger increases: white reluctance to accept racially mixed schools, the multiplicity of options for avoiding such schools, the willingness of local officials to accommodate the wishes of reluctant whites, and the eventual loss of will on the part of those who had been the strongest protagonists in the push for desegregation. Thus decreases in segregation within districts were partially offset by growing disparities between districts and by selected increases in private school enrollment.
"[A] richly instructive 'arithmetical history' of how educational integration waxed and then waned in the years after Brown."--David J. Garrow, The Nation
"This is an important book, with thorough analysis supported by both historical and current data. Clotfelter's angle of vision measuring the lack of interracial contact, is both insightful and informative."--Library Journal
"After Brown is an unusually comprehensive and well-documented analysis of trends in the last five decades in the levels of segregation in American education. . . . It is the most current, most comprehensive reference work available today."--John R. Logan, American Journal of Sociology
"Clotfelter presents an array of evidence showing the failure of school desegregation in the years since Brown. His angle of vision, measuring the lack of interracial contact, is both insightful and informative."--Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine Segal Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania, and Chairperson of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
"Fifty years ago, prompted by the Supreme Court's landmark Brown decision, this nation began a major policy initiative by moving to end the racial isolation of African American children in our public schools. In After Brown. Charles Clotfelter provides the invaluable service of systematically chronicling the history and assessing the impact of this initiative. Much will be written in this anniversary year on the subject of school desegregation, but Clotfelter's meticulous, balanced, and sober assessment has set a standard for rigor that is unlikely to be surpassed."--Glenn Cartman Loury, Boston University
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations ix
List of Tables xi
Walls Came Tumbling Down 13
The Legacies of Brown and Milliken 44
Residential Segregation and "White Flight" 75
The Private School Option 100
Inside Schools: Classrooms and School Activities 126
Higher Learning and the Color Line 148
So What? 178
Methodological Appendix 201