The infamous 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock’s Central High School became emblematic of the short-term challenges in desegregating public schools after the Supreme Court’s Brown decision. However, few people know about the Little Rock School District’s subsequent efforts to desegregate. Behind the leadership of a school board controlled by local business elites and a compliant superintendent, the district minimized desegregation as much as possible. When supporters of desegregation captured a majority on the school board in 1966, however, they pushed for more substantive changes. Their recommendations created a public outcry. Segregationists regained control of the school board through elections in September 1967 and March 1968, and they effectively stopped further desegregation until 1971. This lecture introduces the Oregon Plan, that was the basis for the 1966 Board’s recommendations, analyzes the results of the 1967 and 1968 elections, and interprets the long-term consequences for the city’s refusal to desegregate its schools.
Refreshments and an informal atmosphere encourage the interchange of ideas. Refreshments are served at 7:00 p.m., and the talk begins at 7:30 p.m.
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