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As the Brown vs Board decision became official in regards to making segregation in schools unconstitutional, integration took momentum in regards to the path towards complete desegregation in the south. One little explored area is a small percentage of the Southern white population, both students and adults, and their contribution towards the integration efforts within universities and outside campuses. It is interesting to note the effort the some of the white population and how it stands in contrast to the stereotypical view of Southern whites as a whole completely opposing any form of integration, as typically presented in documentaries and in film, such as sit-ins and mobs of white persons taunting the first black students to enter a white school. It is worth exploring the lesser-known areas of history, in this case, the non-black efforts to contribute towards integration in the south.
It seems that after segregation, some within the white population in the south favored integration. This stands in contrast to the stereotypical picture of the white population in the South as a whole being against integration. The Kansas newspaper The Plain Dealer the newspaper highlights an article called White Students Reactions Vary over School Integration. The article contains varied attitudes regarding school integration, recorded by the Negro Journal of Education, many of the white students held attitudes varying from indifference to friendly towards black students on campus, with a majority viewing them as friends “Many of this group accept negroes as part of the environment, reestablishing the friendly give-and-take relationship they had before they became race conscience.” The article describes that on campus, the white student population saw integration on campus as an everyday aspect and a part of the college experience that is expected of being a student. It is fascinating to note how the transition into integration on college campuses in the South had taken place earlier around 1948-1943, earlier than the year when the U.S Federal government declared segregation in schools unconstitutional in 1954. The article notes how black students were free to intermingle on campus in a variety of ways, sleeping in the same dorms, eating at the same tables, partaking in the same activities, etc.
The Newspaper article, White Dixie Students Support Integration, in The Plain Dealer newspaper, supports the previous article. The article explains how some white students from various Southern universities support the push for racial integration. Many white students made efforts to organize interracial school meetings, and promote of racial inclusiveness. Many students were positively affected by the racial inclusiveness and message from the quadrennial conference of the Student Volunteer Movement, which apparently promotes racial integration and tolerance. This seems evident by the statements made from certain students returning from the conference, “The student said that on the Mississippi campus he will try to promote racial understanding by telling the story of the conference, attended by 3,500 students from 80 nations and 60 religious groups.” This provides a valuable insight into the efforts to promote integration that some Southern white students were willing to take to support integration. Some white students would find ways to organize interracial meetings, promoting tolerance on campus and creating a diverse atmosphere. This also allows the reader to see an often sot so explored area of integration, how some white students were willing to promote racial integration through organized efforts of inclusiveness for the black students. What is really fascinating it the organization of integrated groups and socialization between different races that some white students were able to organize or tried to attempt to create.
Some, from among the adult population in the South, showed their support for the drive towards integration as well. In the newspaper article, Teachers’ Group OK’s Desegregated Schools. Regional Body Takes Firm Stand, from the newspaper, Kansas American, the article describes the efforts of the Phi Delta Kappa teacher sorority in their effort to prevent the teaching termination of six black teachers. The sorority condemns Kansas school officials who sought to kick out six black teachers in order to prevent the nationwide effort of enforced school integration, “The sorority further wants in on record as condemning the action of Topeka, Kansas school officials who are presently attempting to oust six negro teachers from the system, to ward off a possible Supreme Court ruling to integrate.” This shows that not only the youth, who were more susceptible to desire change and the willingness to take in new ideas, wanted integration but some Southern adults as well, who were also willing to take action to bring integration to the South as well.
After the ruling of school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, the process of integration can be regarded as gaining faster momentum across the South, even though the opinions regarding integration is still mixed among Southerners. The Newspaper article Trend towards Integration Seen in Survey Despite Kluxer’s Activities, by the newspaper, Arkansas State Press, describes the process of integration within the south gaining momentum after the Brown vs. Board decision by the Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional, “The basic trend towards integration which had been evident for some years has undoubtedly been speeded by the decision. This shows how the efforts of integration seem to be undoubtedly gaining traction despite the Ku Klux Klan’s efforts to prevent the process of desegregation.
The process of desegregation had a somewhat positive impact upon the black teaching force, mainly within the Border States as well as in the north. The process of school desegregation had in fact boosted the growth of black teachers in schools. The article describes, what is surprising as how even towns that did not hire some black teachers previously now began to accept them into teaching positions, a study conducted by a Jeanne Rogers was taken which concluded that “while there had been little integration of teachers, no casualties had resulted among negro teachers or principles because of racial integration.” This shows how even in the Northern and Border States, the teaching positions of black educators were pretty safe, due to the tenure laws upheld in those states.
Therefore, it shows just how fast the efforts to integrate happened within the South, contributed in part to some of the white southern population’s willingness to support the push towards desegregation. It’s surprising how little known some of these efforts were on part of the white population during that time. The willingness on part of a small percentage of the Southern white students as well as adults to bring change into a changing America made a notable contribution that would ultimately lead to Jim Crow crumbling. This little explored area of desegregation is worth researching in order to see just how important this contribution towards desegregation had, as integration began to gain increasing momentum. The efforts of some of the white population toward black civil rights are a good and noteworthy effort toward unity and equality among the U.S population.
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