An In-Depth Look at the Desegregation of Chattanooga City Schools
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While much research has been done regarding the Civil Rights Movement and school desegregation in Atlanta and other major Southern cities, information regarding Chattanooga, TN has never been published. As a vibrant city with a large African American community and an interesting mix of both Southerners and former Yankees who emigrated after the Civil war, Chattanooga’s story is an important one to be told. This study covers the story of desegregation through a legal lens as a major lawsuit in Chattanooga was ultimately what brought about desegregation in the public school system. Through interviews, oral histories, and original legal documents from the case, the paper highlights the struggle between the African American community and the school board in the fight for equal education. A small group of African American parents stood up to the all-white board of education and demanded that their children be given full-time, equal education. Although many in the White community questioned the legality of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and later staunchly opposed desegregation, the lawsuit ultimately resulted in one of the most peaceful desegregation attempts made in the South. The case, entitled Mapp v. Board of Education resulted in a twenty-six year legal battle for equal rights, and school desegregation was only the beginning.
- The Tower