School Integration: A Case Study of the 1971-1972 School Year at Indian River High School

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Date

1997-07-31

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Virginia Tech

Abstract

This dissertation is a case study of the initial year of integration at a predominantly white southern high school. The school's racial configuration changed from approximately 10% black to approximately 35% black in the course of a single year. The study includes a background of desegregation in Virginia, a discussion of the closing of the black high school in the local area, and a detailed, thematic study of the events of the school year. The information is gleaned from newspapers, historical works by original sources, school records, papers and memos, and primarily, from sixty-six interviews with former students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members.

Important sections deal with racial issues on a personal level for the students and teachers involved. Organizations such as the football team are dealt with in detail. Particular attention is paid to clubs and organizations, especially those where the students could choose the members. A substantial portion of the paper provides first hand accounts of violence that occurred during the school year, in particular an incident of riot proportions. The objective of the study is to provide a detailed account of school integration through first hand accounts of day to day events at a school in the process of desegregation.

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Keywords

Integration, School

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