Ending a legal battle that has lasted 50 years, a federal court has ordered the town of Cleveland, Mississippi to desegregate its high schools and middle schools, as reported by the New York Times. This decision comes 62 years after the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal had no place in public schools.
Cleveland is a Mississippi delta town of about 12,000. The Justice Department this week found that the school district there operated an “inadequate dual system.” The plan is to consolidate the predominantly black DM Smith Middle School with Margaret Green Junior High, which has been historically white. Some of the institutions have been this way for more than a century. Two high schools will also be consolidated.
Citing testimonies in court, both white and black residents said there was a stigma associated with the segregated schools with a majority opinion being that white students were receiving a better education.