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Making the Unequal MetropolisSchool Desegregation and Its Limits$
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Ansley T. Erickson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226025254

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226025391.001.0001

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Desegregation from Tokenism to Moderation

Desegregation from Tokenism to Moderation

(p.61) Chapter Two Desegregation from Tokenism to Moderation
Making the Unequal Metropolis

Ansley T. Erickson

University of Chicago Press

Nashville operated separate “white” and “colored” schools before and after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in education. In keeping with patterns visible across the U.S., schools serving black students enjoyed fewer material resources than their white counterparts. Local attorneys Z. Alexander Looby and Avon N. Williams Jr. worked with colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to challenge segregation in court. In 1957, they won a court order for desegregation in Nashville. The district’s plan took a token and gradual approach to desegregation, but nonetheless generated major and, at times, violent white resistance. Although Nashville’s black residents saw how sharply curtailed spaces for desegregation remained, white leaders and popular spokespeople celebrated the air of moderation they claimed characterized their city. Demonstrating the wide variety in modes of resistance, some white educators claimed that good pedagogy required limiting desegregation even as they too donned the mantle of moderation.

Keywords:   segregation, inequality, Z. Alexander Looby, NAACP, desegregation, resistance, moderation, pedagogy

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