60 years ago,
the Supreme Court ruled that ‘separate but equal' had no place in American schools.
education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments…"
"…It is the very foundation of good citizenship."
— Brown v. Board, 1954
The ruling spurred years of
across the South
Before a wave of court orders finally forced schools to integrate.
the South is seeing a resurgence of segregation. This is the story of schools in Tuscaloosa, Ala. — where a series of backroom deals and difficult compromises have had devastating consequences.
Though James Dent could watch Central High School's homecoming parade from the porch of his faded-white bungalow, it had been years since he'd bothered. But last fall, Dent's oldest granddaughter, D'Leisha, was vying for homecoming queen, and he knew she'd be poking up through the sunroof of her mother's car, hand cupped in a beauty-pageant wave, looking for him.
So, at about 4:30 in the afternoon on October 18, Dent, age 64, made his way off the porch and to the curb along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the West End of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Soon he could hear the first rumblings of the band.
There was a time, little more than a decade ago, when the Central High School homecoming parade brought out the city. The parade started in the former state capita