Why are our schools so segregated?

Published 5:02 pm Monday, April 1, 2019

In 1954 the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate schools based on race.  Before this ruling, it was legal for states and communities to operate schools that were for whites only or for blacks only.  The Brown v. Board ruling contended that segregation was “inherently unequal”.

That was 65 years ago.

Flash forward to today and across our nation, many of our schools are more segregated than ever.  Selma City Schools is no exception.

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True historians know that segregation was by design due to regulations that determined where and for whom homes and government subsidized public housing projects were built.  I encourage you to read about the history of the Federal Housing Authority for more information.  Do current laws or regulations still impact the segregation seen in our communities and schools today? 

Why are our schools so segregated?

A child’s education is a very personal decision and not something that I would typically judge.  In our community though, it strikes me as odd and interesting that the schools that I lead have so few white scholars.  Certainly, reasons for this may vary from one household to the next.  What I wonder is, can we as a community have a conversation about this?

Since coming to Selma, I have spoken to citizens who want to reintegrate our schools.  Currently, I serve with two different committees that are focused on improving our city to include schools.  I am co-chairing the Weed and Seed Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Team and the Separation Design Team with the Center for Nonviolence Truth and Reconciliation. 

Both of these groups are exploring race relations within our city.  We cannot address race without also discussing racism and segregation.  This includes the segregation of our schools

These uncomfortable conversations need to be had. 

They need to be had about what’s happening in Selma NOW and not just about the history of our city and nation. 

Is Selma ready for this? 

I don’t know the answer to that question.  What I do know is that talking about segregation and racism is not an easy discussion. 

Easy or not, I believe it is important if we are to get better as a community.  In saying that, please note that one does not have to be sick to get better! 

We have much to improve in our beautiful city.

So why do you think our schools are so segregated? Email me at dr.avisw@gmail.com to share your thoughts on this.

For more information, email me at avis.williams@selmacityschools.org.