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Topic: DEMOLITION MEANS PROGRESS-HIGHSMITH ON FLINT SEGREGATION
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Adam
F L I N T O I D

quote:
untanglingwebs schreef:
quote:
Adam schreef:
quote:
untanglingwebs schreef:
Flint constructed eight new elementary schools during the 1950's and only one, Stewart School, had black students. Opening in 1955, Stewart had an an 83 percent black enrollment. The other seven schools were all located in segregated white neighborhoods and had a total enrollment of over five thousand students and none were black . All of the white schools were developed as community school centers.


I'm guessing there were a few black students in the other white schools?


NO THE OTHER SCHOOLS HAD NO BLACK STUDENTS BECAUSE OF GERRYMANDERING SCHOOL BOUNDARIES AND JIM CROW!


I didn't realize the north had the same segregation as the deep south. I think high school history books mainly paint the south as the racists.
Post Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:46 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

I am impressed with the extensive research that Highsmith conducted when he wrote this document. The GHCC designation refers to the collections at U of M. he also used the documents from the kettering Archives and a multitude of other research tools.

He documented the fact that Flint was long designated as one of the most racially segregated cities outside of the south. I suggest you download and read his dissertation as the breadth of his study is impressive.
Post Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:10 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

The evidence of Jim Crow racial disparity in the Flint educational system was written about in the Detroit newspapers, the local black papers, the court battle in which Edgar Holt testified and in hearings and seminars in which the Board of Education denied culpability.
Post Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:15 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

I was at Flint City Hall when a series of videotaped stories on civil rights and local black history were being done in then mayor Woodrow Stanley's conference room. Thank God it was done before so many of our oral historians were lost.

Attorney Glenn Epps was waiting to be interviewed and he told me wonderous stories about his relationships with various politicians. His laughed heartily when he spoke of former Prosecutor Robert Leonard. He was a racist when he came, but I educated him, he said. They became friends and worked side by side with many other white and Jewish leaders to fight the inequity that existed in Flint.

Flint avoided the riots in the 60's and we can thank the likes of the Glenn Epps, Fred Robinson, Olive Beasley, Rev. Robbs, Willie (Sokita) Nolden, and the leaders of the Urban league and many more for saving Flint. But more importantly, we can thank the young people of the Brougham Claub and other organizations who went out in the streets and quelled the violence.

I did not grow up in Flint and I had many questions about how the social structure in Flint and especially how the intense anger against whites developed in certain groups. While not a universal hatred, it certainly smoldered in the background at times in meetings and other encounters I had. I also was puzzled by the huge number of public housing units in Flint and was curious as to their origin.

Highsmith opened my eyes to so much with his extensive research. He answered many of my questions and made me question events occurring now and those proposed in the future,

I encourage anyone who can get a copy of this dissertation to do so and read it. It is 707 pages but they are double spaced. In the beginning I found some of the writing tedious and repetitive, but the writing only got better. The work is addictive and I couldn't put it down for long.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:27 am 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

The flint school board employed the technique of using temporary classroom structures to maintain racial segregation in the midst of postwar population booms. Roosevelt School had nearly six hundred students and was 95 percent black. It was located in the majority black neighborhood near the intersecion of Stewart Avenue and Dort Highway. One and a half miles northeast the school board constructed temporary classrooms on what is now Carpenter Road School to house nearly 50 white students that lived in the segreagated fringe area close to the Mt Morris and Genesee Townships borders.

Meanwhile, in the 1950s the north and northwest areas of Flint were experiencing increased expansion of the black population. Flint began building primary units that resembled single-family ranch homes as a means of preserving segregation. Flint built 116 such units, mostly in segregated white neighborhoods in the segregated fringe area of the city.

Around the country, schools employed temporary trailer classrooms in their school parking lots. Flint placed them in residential neighborhoods, often at great distances from the main school building. While the school board touted them as being fiscally responsible, they were really useful as devices of segregation.

(pages 160-161)


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:32 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:27 am 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

I recently read another author who discussed the area in the northwest around St Agnes. He described the large Catholic population in that area and the anger against the diocese when the promised Catholic high school on this property was not built. He then discussed how the "block busting' techniques were employed to make more people sell their homes allowing more black homeowners.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:30 am 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

Highsmith points to the use of these temporary classroom units when redrawing the boundaries between Martin, Jefferson, Pierson and Gundry could have alleviated crowding.

In the 1959-60 school year Pierson had an all white enrollment of 909 students in a building constructed to house 1301 students. Only one-half mile away, Jefferson-which had seven temprary classroom units- had an enroll ment of 980 students in a building built to house 906 students. There were 954 black Students.

(page 161)
Flint Journal, April 16.977, Lydia A. Giles, "Flint Portable classrooms Aided Segregation".
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:39 am 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

After world War II the saint john Street area reached its capacity and blacks moved west across Saginaw Street into previously segregated neighborhoods. Once agin the board of education shifted Jr. High boundaries just as it had elementary school boundaries. April of 1954 was the unveiling of a new boundary plan for all Jr. High schools.

"For Longfellow Junior High School-located approximately two miles north of the Flint River within a segregated west side neighborhood- the board drew an oddly shaped igzag boundary that pulled handfuls of white students into the Longfellow district while pushing black pupils into neighboring Emerson area. The boundary linr resulted in a 100 percent white enrollment at Longfellow that held through the 1950's. At Emerson, which also served portions of the west side in addition to the segregated black neighborhoods of the North End, the 1954 boundary created a subtantially larger black enrollment of 23.9 percent, which by 1959 had increased to nealy 35 percent. As iin other instances, the board employed a discriminatory transfer policy that allowed white students from Emerson to switch to longfellow while denying Emerson's black students the same privilege."

page 163
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:23 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

The Bronze reporter was the leading black newspaper at the time and they wrote an editorial on March 29, 1958 about the boundaries: "If children were simply sent to schools nearest them, we would find much fewer all- Negro and all White schools.'

As more black families moved into previously segregated neighborhoods, the board found it more difficult to maintain segregation among the students. Black students were concentrated st Northern and Northwestern High Schools and attempts were made to minimize their enrollment in Central and Southwestern High Schools.

Urban Renewal in the St John area created a migration of black students and a departure of white children. Lewis and Fairview Elementary schools and there boundary lines draw a clear example of how far the board was willing to go to have segregation on the elementary school level.

Fairview, located in the St Johndistrict with a capacity for 445 students had only 305 students. There was 302 students that were black. Lewis, approximately one mile from Fairview and having a capacity of 661 students,had five black students out of 882 students and was severely overcrowded. Despite the proximity of the two schools, the board refused to allow transfers and created policies that undermined the educational quality of both schools.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:41 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

This pattern was replicated throughout the city as the color line continued to shift and yet the school board tried to maintain segregation.

Movement of white students to lewis, Kearsley and Homedale reduced the student teacher ratio to 27:1 in fairview while Kearsley had a ratio of 36:1. Parents complaints were responded to in a board staff report on January 8, 1953 that asserted "socio-economic factors make a lower pupil-teacher ratio desirable for a given school." While this sounded like an attempt to compensate for an attempt to level the playing field for disadvantaged children , the NAACP came out with a resource inequities report that showed how the issue was really one of segregation.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:50 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

Sperintendent Early , "Presentation to Civil Rights Commission" in a 1966 speech , "the board proposed solving srgregation at some unknown future date by firdt improving the education and living standards of Flint's black community:

I suggest that we not overlook the importance of present efforts to greatly improve our inner-city schools... Such effforts are being made not to persuade negroes to accept segregation, but rather, to use education as the ladder out of poverty, substandard living, and with it, segregation."

Page 167
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:31 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

The Flint Board of Education suffered many pressures:

White children were leaving to the suburbs;

The number of black students were increasing;

Civil Rights groups were exerting pressure to shift construction from segregated areas to the north and northwest areas of Flint.

Thus Bunche was opened in 1967 and King in 1970. Bunche opened with a black enrollment of 43 percent which rose to 71 percent in 1971. Merrill, less than a mile from Bunche, still served the still segregsted area od Forest Park and had a 99 percent white student population the year Bunche was opened.

Merrill's black population increased during the late 1960's and early 1970s because of the freeway development and urban renewal that relocated over one thousand black families. But even in 1972 Merrill had a white student population of 86 percent.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:44 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

Just north of Bassett Park was Civic Park School. By 1969 the black population of civic park was about 10 percent. However, all of Civic Park's black students were transferred to King School when it opened. martin Luther king School was only a half-mile east of Civic Park,, but it opened with an enrollment of morethan 87 percent black.

Page 168 - Flint journal, Morrisey, "Board of Ed. Orders changes for Five Schools.
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:55 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

By 1975, the federal government acknowledged " the substantial duality of the Flint school system".

When the 1960's ended attempts to alter the segregation patterns of the Flint schools by national civil rights laws and federal desegregations were failures.

' Of the fourty-two public elementary schools open in Flint in 1969, nine contained all white student bodies and three additional schools claimed fewer than ten black pupils. On the other side of the color line, ten of the city's elementary schools possessed black student majorities of greater than 90 percent. With a total elementary student population of 27,540, 39 percent of whom were African-American, the district contained only five integrated elementary school districts."

Page 168
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:05 pm 
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untanglingwebs
F L I N T O I D

The Flint River was a powerful symbol of the rigid color boundary. In the late 1950's the child of one of the few black families that crossed the Flint River was enrolled in Homedale. Opposition from white parents resulted in a teacher placing the second grader, Wesley king, in a small cramped dark coat closet to keep him from the other students. The NAACP investigated and reported in their newsletter the story.

"Small Boy Kept in School closet:, Holt papers, box 4, folder 4
Post Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:13 pm 
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