Last year, leading up the 65th anniversary, we put together a 6 part mini-series called “The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Moving From Desegregation to Integration”. It is in no way a comprehensive history, but hopefully it complicates the stories we tell about Brown v Board. These stories and others about our past desegregation efforts have a huge impact on how we interact with school today, Our hope is that a more honest assessment of the history can be a first step towards real integration.
Part 1 – With Rucker Johnson, author of Children Of The Dream: Why School Integration Works
Part 3 – With Amanda Lewis, co-author of Despite The Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools
Part 5 – With Greg and Carol
Part 6 – Grappling with what we’ve learned with Anna.
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The Integrated Schools Podcast was created by Courtney Mykytyn and Andrew Lefkowits.
This episode was produced by Andrew Lefkowits.
Audio editing and mixing by Andrew Lefkowits.
Music by Kevin Casey.
Welcome to the Integrated Schools Podcast. I'm Andrew, a White dad from Denver, and I'm just dropping into your feeds because today, May 17th, is the 66th anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education decision. Last year, leading up the 65th anniversary, we put together a 6 part mini-series called "The Stories We Tell Ourselves - Moving from Desegregation to Integration”. It’s in no way a comprehensive history, but I think it complicates the stories we tell about Brown v Board in really important ways. The stories we tell about desegregation efforts have a huge impact on how we interact with school today, and I think I deeper, hopefully more honest assessment of the history can be a first step towards real integration.
In part 1 of the series, we speak with Rucker Johnson, from UC Berkley, about his longitudinal research following students from before and after court ordered desegregation. His work highlights many of the benefits that came from our short lived attempt at desegregation.
For Part 2, we're joined by Noliwe Rooks to talk about some of the real costs from the way we implemented desegregation - from the loss of black teachers and administrators to the loss of community schools, we grapple with the fact that our attempt at desegregation were not without harm.
In part 3, we're joined by Amanda Lewis, who, along with John Diamond, wrote a book called Despite the Best Intentions that looks at segregation within the school walls. We know that simply putting kids in the same building isn't sufficient to eliminate segregation - from AP classes to school discipline policies, Dr. Lewis helps us grapple with the ways our supposedly race neutral policies have racist impacts.
For Part 4, we're joined by David Hinojosa to move beyond the racial binaries of black and white and complicate the story with some Latinx perspective. We discuss other important desegregation cases like The Lemon Grove case and the Mendes case, and we talk a bit about the ways that race gets defined, and redefined to suit the needs of the White power structure.
For Part 5 we set aside the scholarship and speak with two parents, Greg and Carol. They are both black parents, in different parts of the country, who have opted into mostly white "good" schools. They share the challenges they face every day, as some of the only people of color in their school communities. If part 2 showed us that desegregation WAS hard, this episode shows us that it so often still IS hard.
Finally, part 6 gives us a chance to grapple with what we learned with Anna, who you've heard on past episodes.
So, we're going to be promoting one episode every Sunday for the next 6 weeks. They won't show up in your feeds again, but there are links to them all in the show notes and they all have [email protected] in the title. We'll also be discussing each one on the Patreon page, Patreon.com/IntegratedSchools, and some of our local chapters will be hosting "podcast club" discussions about some or all of the episodes, so check the website, Integratedschools.org to find your local chapter and connect.
In a coincidence that seems a bit too on the nose, May 17th, today, was also Integrated Schools founder and my former co-host Courtney's birthday. The hole left by her death feels particularly large today. She was very proud of this mini-series, and while re-listening to the episodes has been hard, it has also reminded me of her brilliance, and how important she thought stories were. These stories are one small piece, but hopefully they help you have a deeper, and more complicated narrative. Because that is how we know better, and if we know better, we can do better. See you soon!