9781570036385 / 1570036381

Brick Walls: Reflections on Race in a Southern School District


Publisher:Univ of South Carolina Pr



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About the book:

In 1987, when veteran school administrator Thomas E. Truitt took the post of district superintendent in Florence, South Carolina, he assumed leadership of a public school system in denial of its racial disharmony. More than three decades after Brown v. Board of Education, Florence District One had never accomplished an integration plan that met federal approval; rather the district had skirted the intent of the federal mandate by employing "freedom of choice" and traditional attendance zones. In the 1990s, a single issue - the need to replace an aging, predominantly black elementary school - brought to the fore the local population's anguished attitudes about race and education. "Brick Walls and Other Barriers" recounts in wrenching detail how legacies of discrimination and injustice combined to divide a community along racial lines. Truitt takes readers into the complex inner workings of a modern school system, detailing the relationships between school boards and professional administrators to which few parents or citizens are privy. He describes a two-year struggle that included heated public meetings, an NAACP lawsuit, a federal court hearing, and a court-mandated change in the election of school board members. Shedding light on the intractability of racial problems in South Carolina, Truitt stresses that the story of what happened in Florence cannot be understood in isolation but must be viewed as a tale that exposes much about the current state of public education in the South and across the United States.

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