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From Little Rock to Philadelphia: A Look at School Desegregation

Author: Alison McCartney


Roxborough High School

Year: 2009

Seminar: American Political Culture

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: Arkansas, Central High School, desegregation, little rock, Little Rock Nine, Philadelphia, racial inequalities, Research, school desegregation, Warriors Don't Cry

School Subject(s): African American History, American History, History, Political Science, Social Studies, Writing

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Patillo Beals is a historical account of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Beals was a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African American teenagers who volunteered to attend the all-white Central High School. The book tells the story of Beals’ experiences with prejudice and discrimination from whites, and also the lack of sympathy and understanding from her family and friends. This book also documents an important step towards equal education for all races; however, more than 50 years later we are left to wonder how much school integration really worked. Students will better understand the history of education and educational equality throughout United States history.

Students will begin reading Warriors Don’t Cry while examining racial inequalities in society and education, beginning with Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. This historical background will enrich students’ understanding and appreciation for the Little Rock Nine and the reading of Warriors Don’t Cry. Students will also be able to connect characters and events in the book to real life. After finishing the novel, students will examine how successful school integration truly was by examining their own educational experiences and those of family and friends. Students will research racial and economical equality in education during the last half of the 20th century and today in Philadelphia.

Download Unit: McCartney-2.pdf

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Full Unit Text

I currently teach at a comprehensive neighborhood high school whose student population is predominantly African American, but it is located in a predominantly white neighborhood. The school was built a little over 80 years ago and was almost exclusively attended by white students in its early days. The school remained a neighborhood school, and therefore remained predominantly white, until the 1980s. From the 1980s to the 1990s, the school was open to all neighborhood students but required “special admission” for students who did not live in the neighborhood. Based on my fellow teachers’ recollections, the school was very integrated throughout this time period. However, since then, many of the neighborhood children have been sent to private and parochial schools, the “special admission” status has been eliminated, and the African American population has greatly increased. Now, the school experiences many of the same issues and troubles as other racially segregated comprehensive schools, except that the majority of the students come from many different neighborhoods and areas of the city. In my opinion, my school is a prime example of the effects de facto segregation and the failed attempts at desegregation made by the Philadelphia School District and the Pennsylvania courts. My school is not unique in this aspect; unfortunately, it occurs all over throughout Philadelphia and the country.

While I have always been fascinated by the history of the school, it was not until this year that I encountered students who shared similar questions. After some of my ninth grade students read Warriors Don’t Cry as an independent reading book, they began asking questions about the racial composition of the school and its surrounding neighborhood. I found that I did not know enough about the history of school integration or school reform movements to answer all of their questions. This unit attempts to answer some of the questions about school desegregation in general, and the history of school desegregation in Philadelphia. It will also encourage students to keep asking questions, especially in their community, and to record them for future generations.

Historical Context

Because the history of education in the United States is incredibly broad and far-reaching, this unit will focus primarily on the disparities and inequalities between the education of whites and the education of African Americans in America past and present.

The Thirteenth Amendment banned slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal civil rights for all “persons born or naturalized in the United States.” These new freedoms and rights brought many new opportunities to African Americans. There were, however, still many obstacles that had be faced.

During the Reconstruction era, many northern teachers believed in the goal of a common, or public, education for all children in all states. This common school movement had been somewhat successful in the late antebellum period, when it spread throughout many of the northern and western states. Northern teachers hoped it would be just as effective for the newly freed slaves and other uneducated southerners. “Although they achieved some initial successes in establishing integrated schools in a few southern communities, this missionary effort failed miserably. These naïve, albeit good-intentioned school teachers soon realized that South Carolina was different than Massachusetts. Rather than recognize that their goal was beyond the means of common schooling to achieve, these enthusiastic reformers began to accept the ideas that the former slave was not capable of learning and benefiting from the kind of schooling that worked so well in the North and West” (Johnson 2002, 125).

This failure caused many reformers and educators to believe that not all students were capable of learning in the common school model. This false belief led many to believe that African American children were not ready for academic learning. As a result, there was much disagreement and controversy on the proper method of educating African Americans in the South. For the most part, the responsibility of educating African Americans was placed upon the few African Americans who were themselves already educated. Many believed that vocational and industrial educational programs were best suited for African American students.

Booker T. Washington became perhaps the most eminent advocate for industrial training for African Americans. A graduate of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Washington helped to establish and lead the Tuskegee Institute of Alabama in 1881. Washington believed that industrial education would help prove that African Americans were hardworking, competent and productive people, not the lazy, imprudent stereotypes that many whites believed. Industrial education ensured that African Americans would be able to be economically successful, while not threatening white superiority. In 1895, Washington most famously expressed his ideas in his “Atlanta Exposition Address,” in which he agreed that a segregated society may be best for both races (Johnson 2002, 125-126).

W.E.B. Du Bois publicly disagreed with many of Washington’s theories and beliefs about education African Americans. Du Bois believed that Washington was giving in to the white assertions of economic and political supremacy, upholding “the old attitude of adjustment and submission” (Du Bois 49). Du Bois believed that Washington was asking African Americans to give up on political power, insistence on equal rights and higher education for African American youth, resulting in the disfranchisement of the African Americans, the inferior civil status of the African Americans, and the loss of possible funding for higher education institutions for African Americans (Du Bois 49-50). Du Bois believed that a well-rounded education for Blacks was the best way to help the race improve their conditions. However, Du Bois did not believe that a genuine higher education was suitable for all African Americans, or all whites, for that matter. Instead, he believed that it was the “talented tenth” of all races who, through higher education, became the leaders and role models for society. Because Washington was encouraging all Blacks to pursue industrial education, those African Americans who would have constituted the “talented tenth” were not following paths leading to higher education (Johnson 2002, 126-127).

There are many historians who believe that Booker T. Washington’s acceptance of racial segregation influenced the Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Plessy v. Ferguson established that “separate” facilities and institutions for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were “equal.” This “separate but equal” doctrine was applied to public education. For the next 60 years, the majority of African Americans in the United States attended public schools that were legally separate and materially unequal to public schools for whites.

Brown v. Board of Education was not the first case to challenge the “separate but equal” doctrine in regard to education. The NAACP had previously focused their attentions on higher and professional education. For example, there were public institutions that offered professional and graduate programs for which African Americans were not eligible; however, there were no “colored” institutions offering similar programs (Johnson 2002, 143). The NAACP continued to focus on the “equal” half of the doctrine and showed some progress. In 1930, South Carolina spent eight times as much to educate a white child as to educate a black child; by 1945, South Carolina was only spending three times as much to educate a white child as to educate a black child (Johnson 2002, 172).

In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas examined the cases of African American students from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware who were denied admission to all-white public schools. The court used the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas to apply to the three other cases also. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP argued that segregated schools were not equal and could not be made equal. The court declared that although schools may be equal with respect to buildings, curricula, teacher qualifications and equipment, the separation had a negative psychological effect on African American and other minority children (Landmark Supreme Court Cases). The separation of races in schools caused a sense of inferiority for minority students and therefore affected their drive and desire to learn.

It was not until a year later that the Supreme Court mandated that local school districts must eliminate segregated schools. Although districts were told to move “with all deliberate speed,” there was little change in student body compositions in most districts. By 1964, only 2 percent of all black students were attending school with white students (Johnson 2002, 180).

As expected, the mandate to begin school integration throughout the United States spurred a variety of emotions. Especially in the South, school integration faced with resistance and anger. In the South, 19 United States Senators and 81 Congressman signed the “Southern Manifesto,” a document that denounced the integration mandate and urged Southern states to refuse to go along with it. Local groups sprung up across Southern towns opposing integration (“Desegregation of Central High School”).

At the same time, school districts across the country began to devise plans that would formally follow the Supreme Court’s decision, yet preserve traditional arrangements in schools and communities. The Little Rock School Board adopted the “Blossom Plan” in May of 1955. This plan was based on voluntary transfer and would begin at the high school level and spread downward to the junior high and elementary schools. The plan was upheld in district appeals courts after being challenged by the NAACP in 1956 (“Desegregation of Central High School”).

In order to ensure peace and order at the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School in the fall of 1957, Governor Orval Faubus asked the federal government to be on hand in case of trouble. However, when the federal government could not promise advance responsibility to maintain order, Governor Faubus accused the federal government of forcing integration on an unwilling public and demanding that states handle it on their own. As more opposing groups began petitioning Governor Faubus, he called in units of the Arkansas National Guard to maintain order and prevent violence in Arkansas. The African American students registered to integrate Central High School were advised by the school board to wait until the following day to attend school (“Desegregation of Central High School”).

The following day, September 4, the nine African American students arrived at Central High School but were turned away by the Arkansas National Guard. The angry mob of protestors surrounding the school jeered and taunted the students. The National Guard remained at the school, turning away African American students, until September 20. During that time, Governor Faubus met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but an agreement for a solution could not be reached (“Desegregation of Central High School”).

On September 23, Governor Faubus removed the guardsman after being ordered by the court. A very large, angry mob surrounded the school as the Little Rock police tried to ensure the African Americans’ safety by leading them into the building through a side door. The mob turned violent and the students were removed from the school before noon for their safety. It was then that President Eisenhower and the federal government stepped in. On September 25, the nine African American students attended classes guarded by members of the U.S. Army. Governmor Faubus complained that “Little Rock was ‘now an occupied territory’” (“Desegregation of Central High School”). The nine African American students continued school throughout the year, constantly under verbal and physical threat.

While the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is perhaps the most publicized example of forced integration, it did not solve integration problems. Violent riots, although smaller in scale, occurred throughout many other towns in the South, at primary and secondary schools as well as institutions of higher learning. Some towns simply closed their public schools rather than integrate them. On the other hand, proponents of school integration marched on Washington in 1957 and 1958. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided the federal government with more power to enforce public school desegregation and it prohibits segregation in any programs that receive federal funding (“Brown vs. Board: An American Legacy”).

In Philadelphia, the history of school integration is filled with walk-outs, riots and de-facto segregation. After adoption a policy of nondiscrimination in 1959, Philadelphia schools continued to segregate racially based on neighborhood lines and school feeding districts, as well as an increase in white enrollment at private and parochial schools (Countryman 2006, 237). Racial tensions hit a high on November 17, 1967. A group of African American students from 12 different neighborhood high schools throughout the city set up a demonstration outside the School District Office. The students had come to District officials with a list of 25 demands, some of which included the addition of African American studies courses, a tolerant dress code that would allow African clothes, hats and jewelry, and more community input in neighborhood schools. Although the students were calm, the crowd grew rapidly and police officers showed up in riot gear and tried to begin dispersing the crowd. What was a peaceful protest turned into a violent riot that not only hurt students and property, but also divided the city on school integration (Countryman 2006, 232).

Throughout the 1960s, changing demographics in neighborhoods and student populations caused racial tension within many of Philadelphia comprehensive high schools. Racial gerrymandering of school lines occurred to keep the white student population together. By 1967, Simon Gratz High School was 99% African American, Edison High School was 85% African American and Germantown High School was over 65% African American (Countryman 2006, 232). As the number of African Americans continued to rise at Germantown High School, more and more whites began sending their children to parochial and private schools. Similar situations arose in south Philadelphia. The predominantly Italian-American neighborhood in which Bok High School is located protested the school because of its 80% African American population. Within the African American population, there were also complaints that the majority of African

American students were placed on a vocational track, forcing them to attend vocational schools out of their neighborhoods, such as Bok (Countryman 2006, 234).

It is because of these raial tensions that the African American students and community organizations protested the School Board. Protestors petitioned for “increased black community participation in the governance of black schools as well as for changes in school curriculum and codes of conduct” (Countryman 2006, 242). In effort to ease racial tensions and to prevent further protests, school officials allowed for many of these changes. More and more school leaders at predominantly African American schools began working more closely with community organizations. More time in curriculum and additional electives were created to incorporate African American perspectives, and more African American student groups were permitted to form (Countryman 2006, 243).

Philadelphia’s struggle during the 1960s to ease racial tensions in public schools was echoed throughout other urban centers in the United States. However, instead of making efforts to actively integrate schools and ensure school equality, more was done to pacify the different racial and ethnic groups. As neighborhoods changed and more African Americans entered schools that had been predominantly white, “white flight” to the surrounding suburban districts and to private schools increased.

The history of desegregation in Philadelphia appears to be simply a series of lawsuits and court appeals. After adopting a “nondiscrimination” policy in 1959, the District did not do much to actively integrate schools. The demonstration-turned-riot in 1967 may have indirectly led to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) to begin investigating school equality and integration within Philadelphia, stating that 70 percent of the 269 schools are 90 percent or more of one race (“Focus on Segregation & Equity” 2005).

The district struggled with ensuring equality for all students and improving racial balance without causing more white students to leave the district. Partly due to the African American community’s desire to be more active in schools, the district leaned more towards a policy of decentralization instead of desegregation. The Desegregation Report released by the district in 1968, stated that the district’s prime responsibility was to ‘provide a successful educational experience for black children, with or without integration” (Countryman 2006, 244). The report also stated that the African American community’s demand for more involvement in its schools is “the best way to deliver black children from the clutches of educational failure” (Countryman 2006, 244).

From this point on, the history of desegregation in Philadelphia includes over eleven cases and spans 31 years. A desegregation cause brought on by the PHRC found the Philadelphia School District in violation of the state’s Human Relations Act for maintaining a segregated system. The District argued that the PHRC did not have the “authority to require school integration in the absence of de jure segregation” (Morrison 2004). In other words, because schools were racially segregated by de facto segregation and not by law, the PHRC could not force the district to actively integrate schools. The Pennsylvania courts then ruled that “de jure segregation was not required for the Commission to have authority to force integration or to require busing as a means to desegregate schools” (Morrison 2004). In fact, the Court refused to order the busing of students, but did encourage the establishment of magnet schools (“Focus on Segregation & Equity” 2005).

From this point, both the District and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission both devised plans that were ultimately rejected by one another and the Pennsylvania courts. A 1976 PHRC plan to bus over 50,000 students to different schools was not approved by the District (“Focus on Segregation & Equity” 2005). The District’s plan was rejected because it required full funding by the state and the inclusion of neighboring suburban school districts. Additional plans suggested by the District in 1977 were rejected by the PHRC because they allowed voluntary participation and did not offer a plan for enforced desegregation should the voluntary plan fail The District was given an 18 month trial period to test its voluntary plan; however, when it did fail, the PHRC returned to court to demand that the District submit an involuntary plan for enforced segregation in 1981. Because of the obvious segregation of the schools, the Court mandated that the District could continue its voluntary plan, but must also move to pairing and reassigning students of elementary schools in order to promote racial balance. (Morrison 2004).

The issue was not brought to court again until the early 1990s. In 1993, several community groups argued that the District had not succeeded in providing an equal education for all students. Again, the Court refused to require busing students to different schools (“Focus on Segregation & Equity” 2005). In 1994, the PHRC continued to fight for desegregation, but shifted its focus “assuring equal educational opportunity to all students,” focusing on decreasing racial disparities in academic achievements (Morrison 2004). The Court ruled that the District was not doing enough to eliminated racial disparity in educational opportunities. The District was permitted to return to its voluntary desegregation policy and focus more on ensuring educational equality for all students in all schools.

Since the 1990s, advances in school equality in the District followed general movements in educational reform. The District called for more parental and community involvement in schools, and established full-day kindergarten programs, smaller class sizes, tutorial and after-school programs, and preschool programs. The District was required to develop better absence and truancy controls, as well as a more comprehensive and parent-involved discipline policy. In addition, the District developed a plan to create more racially balanced teaching faculty at schools (Morrison 2004).

While there have been additional court cases and other plans to improve school equality since then, the issue of desegregation has for all intents and purposes been set aside. Unfortunately, it still exists today. In Philadelphia today, more than 107 schools are more than 90 percent African American, and African American and Latino students fall far behind white and Asian students in reading and mathematics scores (“Focus on Segregation & Equity” 2005).


My goals for this unit are to help my students read informational texts, fiction, and primary source documents. My students will read Warriors Don’t Cry independently as homework, but we will work with it in class each day. They will be able to analyze it based on its historical background and context, which will be enriched by studying the educational policies leading up to the novel’s time period, as well as the racial attitudes of the era. Difficult texts will be broken down or “chunked” to help increase student comprehension. Students will practice active reading skills, such as note taking, text rendering, summarizing, retelling and using context clues. Students will write in response to readings and make connections between readings and Warriors Don’t Cry.

In order to make the book and the historical time period more meaningful to students, students will assess and evaluate the state of education today. Students will examine the racial structure of their school, the surrounding neighborhood and the school’s history. Students will create their own inquiry-based projects regarding school equality, focusing on school equality and integration in Philadelphia. Students will research issues of integration and equality in Philadelphia high schools. In addition, students will be required to interview a member of the community about their experiences dealing with integration in Philadelphia. Students will have to present their findings from an interview through a news article, a podcast or a multi-media presentation, such as a power point or video.

The main objectives include the following:

  • To understand differences between primary and secondary sources
  • To analyze, organize and interpret information
  • To make inferences
  • To recognize point of view in primary and secondary sources, as well as fiction
  • To evaluate and recognize reliable and unreliable narrators
  • To read independently
  • To analyze and evaluate literature
  • To analyze and evaluate author’s tone
  • To make meaningful connections among literature, history and modern life

Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening are listed in the Appendix/Standards section.


The unit will center on the reading of Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Patilla Beals. For the most part, students will read the novel independently as homework, with some class time dedicated to silent sustained reading. While reading, students will answer study questions and work on developing vocabulary skills.

In class, students will be engaged in a variety of activities designed to deepen their understandings of the attitudes and opinions of the time period. Understanding that hindsight is 20/20, students will analyze the views of characters in the novel and real historical people. They will also learn more about the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and its influence on education and society.

Most importantly, students will be challenged to question the overall effect of Brown vs. Board of Education as an agent of social change. More than 50 years later, most schools are still as segregated as they once were. Students will examine the integration progress (or lack thereof) at the local level by examining the history of the Philadelphia schools. To do this, students will research past newspaper articles and events, as well as interview family and community members to share their experiences.

Because our school is fortunately equipped with Promethean interactive white boards and classroom sets of laptops, students will use their findings to create some sort of multi-media presentation of their research and interviews. Projects could include PowerPoint presentations with images and quotes, research blogs or interview podcasts.


Classroom Activities

Lesson One: Separate but Equal: The Effects of Brown vs. Board of Education

Essential Questions: Does treating people equally mean treating people the same? Do you have to treat people equally in order to be fair?


Students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and evaluate character motivation and response
  2. Read independently
  3. Work in groups
  1. Compare and contrast characters


1 class period of 45-60 minutes


The following handouts are available on the Brown vs. Board of Education section on

Background Summary and Questions (available for different reading levels)


This lesson is scheduled after students have read the first two chapters of Warriors Don’t Cry. In the second chapter, the decision of the Supreme Court is announced, and Melba deals with the mixed reactions of those among her teachers, peers, family members and neighbors. It also contrasts the African American reaction with the white reaction.

  1. Students respond to journal question on board. They have five to ten minutes to write silently. Their answers and opinions will then be shared through classroom discussion. Why do you think the adults react to the news about integration so strangely? Why do you think they are afraid to be happy?
  1. As a class, write down the different characters and their exact reactions to the court ruling, emphasizing what the characters say, how they act and the affect they have on Melba. If this list will be used the following day, make sure it is in a safe spot.
  1. Distribute handouts of the Brown vs. Board of Education Background and Summary Questions. Students should read article and answer questions together. As a class, review article and questions together. Because the last question refers to “equality,” students may want to discuss what they think true “equality” is. This will help lead into some of the public reactions throughout the country for Lesson Two.
  1. Homework will be to read chapter 3 and to continue recording the reactions of people around Melba and the press to the integration ruling.

Lesson Two: Mixed Reactions

Essential Questions: Does treating people equally mean treating people the same? Do you have to treat people equally in order to be fair? If desegregating schools is a good thing, then why aren’t more people happy about it?


Students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast perspectives
  2. Identify main idea
  3. Summarize information
  1. Analyze and evaluate characterization and character perspective


1 class period of 45-60 minutes


Evaluation Public Reactions Graphic Organizer (Appendix)

The following handouts are available on the Brown vs. Board of Education section on

Immediate Reaction to the Decision: Comparing Regional Media Coverage


This lesson is scheduled after students have read three chapters of Warriors Don’t Cry. Chapter 3 begins to include the public opinion towards integration through newspaper headlines and summaries. This will tie into student activities in the classroom.

It may be helpful to preview some of the vocabulary and documents referred to in the editorials. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are both referenced. Some of the challenging words, such as miscegenation and mongrelization, may be difficult for readers but are very important to the overall tone of the particular editorial.

  1. Review the assigned reading and the additional reactions of characters to the decision to integrate. Discuss the following questions:
    1. How does Melba’s family react to her decision to attend Central High School?
    2. Why does Melba decide to attend Central High School?
    3. What are the opinions in the newspapers about the integration in Little Rock?
  1. Review the meaning and characteristics of editorial. What can we expect when reading an editorial? Why do editorials exist?
  1. Distribute handouts. Explain that the handouts are a collection of excerpts from editorials written after Brown vs. Board of Education was decided.
  1. Together, model how to complete the chart for the New York Times Students may work in pairs or groups of three to complete the chart for the following editorials.
  1. When finished with the chart, students should answer the following questions on the board:
    1. What are some similarities among the editorials?
    2. Do any of the writers share the same concerns?
    3. What do you notice about the writers’ opinions and where the editorials are printed?
    4. How do these opinions and views relate to those of the characters in the Warriors Don’t Cry?
  1. Review the chart together and discuss the questions.
  1. Assign each group a character from the book. Each group is to come up with an editorial from their character’s perspective. Students should work together to come up with a headline for the editorial and write 5-10 sentences explaining the character’s point of view.

Lesson Three: Educational Inequalities: Where are we now?

Essential Questions: Are schools now truly integrated? How effective is school desegregation?

How do we integrate schools and ensure school equality?


Students will be able to:

  1. Read independently
  2. Find main idea
  3. Summarize information
  4. Work in groups
  5. Share and present information


Copies of articles:

“50 Years Later, Little Rock Can’t Escape Race” by Adam Nossiter, New York Times “U.S. school segregation on the rise – report” by Matthew Bigg, Reuters

“School segregation in the U.S. continues to rise” Desiree Evans, Institute of Southern Studies excerpts from “Focus on Segregation & Equity” from the Philadelphia Public School Notebook


1 class period of 45-60 minutes


  1. Students respond to journal question on board. They have five to ten minutes to write silently. Their answers and opinions will then be shared through classroom discussion. Do you think that the Little Rock Nine created change in the United States? Do you think their efforts to integrate schools and make education more equal worked? Explain your answer.
  1. Students will break into four groups. Each group will read one of the articles listed above. As some of the articles are slightly more challenging than others, students should be arranged accordingly.
  1. In groups, students will be responsible for pulling out main facts and quotations that relate to school desegregation in the 2000s. They will write their findings and notes on chart paper to share with the class.
  1. Students will report to the class on the findings of their groups. Once each group has presented, the class will revisit the journal question, focusing on whether or not schools are truly integrated today. Questions regarding school integration generated by the students should be recorded as potential research questions.

Annotated Bibliography/Resources

Bigg, Matthew. “”U.S. school segregation on the rise – report”.” Reuters 14 Jan 2009 Web.6 May 2009. <>.

This article summarizes the present state of educational integration in the United States.

“Brown vs. Board: An American Legacy.” Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern

Poverty Law Center. Spring 2004.


The Teaching Tolerance website is filled with research, information, lessons and activities on almost every subject for teachers to use. The section on Brown vs. Board has a lot of historical and political information about the court case, as well as the effects it had on society. There is a timeline of events as well as interviews with people affected by the court ruling.

The Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles. University of California, Los Angeles. 2009. California Board of Regents. 15 Mar. 2009 <>.

This website offers a wealth of information about school equality and desegregation throughout the country. The site is updated regularly with scholarly research and new information.

Countryman, Matthew J. Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

This book details the civil rights struggle in Philadelphia throughout the 1960s. There is an entire chapter dedicated to school reform and community issues.

“Desegregation of Central High School.” The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

  1. The Central Arkansas Library System. Web.3 May 2009.


This website offers a detailed account of the historical events leading up to the integration of Central High School in Little Rock. It has links and additional information about the people, organizations and places involved in the event.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. Chicago, 1903.

Du Bois’ famous book gives valuable insight into his philosophy on how to reach true equality for African Americans, as well as his view on how to best educate the African American population.

Evans, Desiree. “School segregation in the U.S. continues to rise.” Facing South: The Online Magazing of the Institute for Southern Studies 22 Jan 2009 Web.6 May 2009. < rise.html>.

This article examines the current state of school desegregation throughout the country.

“Focus on Segregation & Equity.” The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. 12.4 (2005). 12 Jun 2009. < persist-school-district>.

This edition of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook is dedicated to understanding the racial breakdown of Philadelphia schools and students. The edition contains information about school populations, desegregation efforts, and educational disparity.

Historic Front Pages from the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette. Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. 2000. <>.

This website has information about the desegregation of Central High School and several front pages and newspaper articles from the time period. This can be used as a primary document for students while reading Warriors Don’t Cry.

Holladay, Jennifer. “The ABCs of School Integration.” Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. September 2007. <>.

Holladay, Jennifer. “Brown v. Board: Timeline of School Integration in the U.S.” Teaching

Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 2004.


These two articles are on the Teaching Tolerance website. They both provide historical background about school integration and can be easily adapted into class handouts. There are also many links to more related resources and documents.

Johnson, Tony W. Historical Documents in American Education. Pearson Education Company: Boston, MA. 2002.

This book contains summaries of historical issues and events in United States education, as well as many primary sources regarding education.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases. <>

This website provides comprehensive overview of influential Supreme Court cases, as as well as creative lesson plans and handouts tailored for different reading levels.

Little Rock Central High 40th Anniversary. Craig Rains/Public Relations. 2000.


This website has photographs, school newspapers and videos from the Little Rock Nine. It has excellent primary sources for students and information on what Central High School is like today.

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site: Historic Places of the Civil Rights

Movement. National Parks Service.


“The Little Rock Nine: 50 Years Later” The New York Times 01 Oct 2007. 16 Jun 2009. < IC.html>.

This article summarizes the progress made in educational desegregation since 1957.

Morrison, Malik. “An Examination of Philadelphia’s School Desegregation Litigation.” Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education 3.1(2004) Web. 8 Jun 2009. <>.

This article offers a very detailed overview of the desegregation litigation involving the School District of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. It also summarizes the various cases that affect the decisions regarding the Philadelphia School District’s actions toward reaching school desegregation.

Nossiter, Adam. “50 Years Later, Little Rock Can’t Escape Race .” New York Times 07 May 2007 Web.6 May 2009. <>.

This article summarizes the progress made towards reaching integration throughout the US and in Little Rock.


Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

1.1 Learning to Read Independently

  1. Locate various texts, media and traditional resources for assigned and independent projects before reading.
  1. Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text, including public documents.
  • Make, and support with evidence, assertions about texts.
  • Make extensions to related ideas, topics or information.
  • Assess the validity of the document based on context.
  • Analyze the positions, arguments and evidence in public documents.

1.2 Reading Critically in All Content Area

  1. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
  • Differentiate fact from opinion across a variety of texts by using complete and accurate information, coherent arguments and points of view.
  • Distinguish between essential and nonessential information across a variety of sources, identifying the use of proper references or authorities and propaganda techniques where present.
  • Use teacher and student established criteria for making decisions and drawing conclusions.
  • Evaluate text organization and content to determine the author’s purpose and effectiveness according to the author’s theses, accuracy, thoroughness, logic and reasoning.

1.4 Types of Writing

  1. Write complex informational pieces (e.g., research papers, analyses, evaluations, essays).
  • Include a variety of methods to develop the main idea.
  • Use precise language and specific detail.
  • Include cause and effect.
  • Use relevant graphics (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, tables, illustrations, photographs).
  • Use primary and secondary sources.

1.5 Quality of Writing

  1. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.
  • Identify topic, task and audience.
  • Establish and maintain a single point of view.
  1. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
  • Gather, determine validity and reliability of, analyze and organize information.
  • Employ the most effective format for purpose and audience.
  • Write fully developed paragraphs that have details and information specific to the topic and relevant to the focus.
  1. Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.
  • Sustain a logical order throughout the piece.
  • Include an effective introduction and conclusion.

1.6 Speaking and Listening

  1. Listen to others.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Synthesize information, ideas and opinions to determine relevancy.
  • Take notes.
  1. Listen to selections of literature (fiction and/or nonfiction).
  • Relate them to previous knowledge.
  • Predict solutions to identified problems.
  • Summarize and reflect on what has been heard.
  • Identify and define new words and concepts.
  • Analyze and synthesize the selections relating them to other selections heard or read.
  1. Speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations.
  • Use a variety of sentence structures to add interest to a presentation.
  • Pace the presentation according to audience and purpose.
  • Adjust stress, volume and inflection to provide emphasis to ideas or to influence the audience.
  1. Contribute to discussions.
  • Ask relevant, clarifying questions.
  • Respond with relevant information or opinions to questions asked.
  • Listen to and acknowledge the contributions of others.
  • Adjust tone and involvement to encourage equitable participation.
  • Facilitate total group participation.
  • Introduce relevant, facilitating information, ideas and opinions to enrich the discussion.
  • Paraphrase and summarize as needed.
  1. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.
  • Initiate everyday conversation.
  • Select and present an oral reading on an assigned topic.
  • Conduct interviews.
  • Participate in a formal interview (e.g., for a job, college).
  1. Use media for learning purposes.
  • Use various forms of media to elicit information, to make a student presentation and to complete class assignments and projects.
  • Evaluate the role of media in focusing attention and forming opinions.
  • Create a multi-media (e.g., film, music, computer-graphic) presentation for display or transmission that demonstrates an understanding of a specific topic or issue or teaches others about it.

1.7 Characteristics and Functions of the English Language

  1. Analyze when differences in languages are a source of negative or positive stereotypes among groups

1.8 Research

  1. Select and refine a topic for research.
  1. Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.
  • Determine valid resources for researching the topic, including primary and secondary sources.
  • Evaluate the importance and quality of the sources.
  • Select sources appropriate to the breadth and depth of the research (e.g., dictionaries, thesauruses, other reference materials, interviews, observations, computer databases).
  • Use tables of contents, indices, key words, cross-references and appendices.
  • Use traditional and electronic search tools.
  1. Organize, summarize and present the main ideas from research.
  • Take notes relevant to the research topic.
  • Develop a thesis statement based on research.
  • Anticipate readers’ problems or misunderstandings.
  • Give precise, formal credit for others’ ideas, images or information using a standard method of documentation.
  • Use formatting techniques (e.g., headings, graphics) to aid reader understanding.

Immediate Reaction to the Decision: Comparing Regional Media


Newspaper In your own words, what Does this editorial What tone, or attitude, Find any words or
Editorial is the message of this support or oppose the does the writer have phrases that support the
  editorial? decision? towards integration? writer’s message or show
        the writer’s attitude.
The New York        
“All God’s        
“End of Dual        
Post Times        
Washington, DC        
“A ‘Healing’        
Daily News        
Jackson, MI        
“Bloodstains On        
White Marble        
The Atlanta        
“The Supreme        
Court Has Given        
Us Time”        
The Boston        
Cavalier Daily        
University of        
“’Violates’ Way        
of Life”