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Source Notes for ‘Segregation Now’

Nikole Hannah-Jones spent nearly a year reporting on the resegregation of Southern schools, including more than two months crisscrossing Alabama. Here are her source notes.

Nikole Hannah-Jones spent nearly a year reporting this story, including more than two months crisscrossing Alabama. She spent most of her time in Alabama on the ground in Tuscaloosa, in its schools, on its streets, in its library, and in its homes. Hannah-Jones interviewed more than 50 people for this story, including parents, students, administrators, academics, judges, attorneys, advocates and students. She sifted through thousands of pages of public documents, demographic data, reports, newspaper archives, and court records — many of which could only be found in the basement of the federal courthouse in Birmingham.

All quotations in the story came from interviews by the reporter and all scenes were witnessed by the reporter unless noted here.

OPENING

There was a time, little more than a decade ago, when the Central High School homecoming parade brought out the city  – Interviews, James Dent, Clarence Sutton Jr.

The horns of one of the state’s largest marching bands, some 150 members strong   – Interview, Clarence Sutton Jr.

crowded the sidewalks to watch the elaborate floats and cheer a football team feared across the region  – Interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Clarence Sutton Sr., Robert Coates; yearbook photos between 1988 and 1999

In 1979, a federal judge had ordered the merger of the  – The Tuscaloosa News, court records

snatched up National Merit Scholarships and math-competition victories just as readily as it won trophies  – Interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Robert Coates; Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools

Melissa graduated from Central in 1988   – Diploma

become the first in her family to graduate from college  – Interview, Melissa Dent

predominantly black West End  – U.S. Census

In 2000, another federal judge released Tuscaloosa City Schools  – Court records

Central had successfully achieved integration   – Court records

A struggling school serving the city’s poorest part of town, it is 99 percent black  – U.S. Census, Tuscaloosa City Schools enrollment data

D’Leisha, an honors student since middle school  – Interviews, D’Leisha Dent, Melissa Dent, Clarence Sutton Jr., Tyrone Jones

Predominantly white neighborhoods adjacent to Central have been gerrymandered  – U.S. Census data, Tuscaloosa City Schools Student Assignment and Facilities Plan

starkly segregated as they were in 1954  – “The Ordeal of Desegregation” by Reed Sarratt

the year the Supreme Court declared an end to separate  – Brown v. Board of Education ruling

it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino  – Civil Rights Project at UCLA

In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students  – Tuscaloosa City Schools enrollment data

among the most extensive in the country  – Analysis by Stanford University in “Brown Fades”

U.S. Department of Justice no longer committed  – Interviews, Janell Byrd, Dennis Parker; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (the U.S. Department of Justice declined to be interviewed for this story)

once the most segregated in the country, had by the 1970s become the most integrated  – “The Ordeal of Desegregation,” The Civil Rights Project at UCLA

since 2000, judges have released hundreds of school districts, from Mississippi to Virginia  – In 2012, Stanford Universityreleased what is considered the most comprehensive list of districts ever under court-ordered desegregation. Researchers then attempted to verify how many of those orders have been terminated through 2009 in districts with at least 2,000 students. ProPublica then verified the status of all districts that Stanford believed were still open as of 2009 and conducted its own analysis.

The South educates the largest number of black students in the country   – The Civil Rights Project at UCLA

black children across the South now attend majority-black schools at levels not seen in four decades  – “Southern Slippage,” a report by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA; ProPublica analysis of demographic data from the National Center for Education Statistics

Nationally, the achievement gap between black and white students, which greatly narrowed  – Reports by the Educational Testing Service, National Center for Education Statistics

apartheid schools—meaning schools where the white population is 1 percent or less   – Report by The Civil Rights Project

While most of these schools are in the Northeast and Midwest, some 12 percent of black studentsand nearly a quarter in Alabama   – Reports by The Civil Rights Project. Alabama is now sixth in the nation for the percentage of black students in apartheid schools.

In 1972, due to strong federal enforcement, only about 25 percent  – Gary Orfield, Public School Desegregation in the United States, 1968-1980

She’s the class president, a member of the mayor’s youth council, a state champion in track and field  – The Tuscaloosa News clippings; D’Leisha’s track and field trophies; interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., D’Leisha Dent.

Dent never went to college. One of 13 children  – Interview, James Dent

earliest of integrated American institutions: the military  – U.S. Department of Defense

 

JAMES DENT

city is home to three colleges, the University of Alabama among them, and a pioneering psychiatric hospital  – Stillman College, Shelton State Community College, Bryce Hospital

Its civic leaders have, at times, been called progressive  – For example, in 1957, The Tuscaloosa News won the Pulitzer Prize for publisher Buford Boone’ssearing editorial against rioting that foiled that desegregation of The University of Alabama.

A New York Times reporter covering civil rights in the 1950s  – “Opening the Doors” by B.J. Hollars

Black people took their first breaths in segregated hospital rooms  – 1966 Report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, interview, Irene Byrd

The imperial wizard of the United Klans of America called Tuscaloosa  – The New York Timesarticle

When the city founded its public-school system in 1885,it opened both white and black schools. That year, the new school board provided maps  – Original First Annual Report of the Board of Education of the Tuskaloosa (sic) Public Schools

Dent would never attend school with a white classmate  – Interview with James Dent, Tuscaloosa school desegregation records

But that does not mean that Tuscaloosa’s schools were equal  – “A History and Personal Account of Secondary Education for Blacks in the Tuscaloosa City School System, 1889-1976,” by McDonald Hughes

“We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place”  – Brown ruling

The Brown ruling did not hinge on the inferior resources allotted  – Brown ruling

Warren understood the storm of resistance likely to confront the decision  – “Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision,” by Peter Irons

Court acknowledged that the “variety of local conditions”  – Brown ruling

that desegregation should proceed “with all deliberate speed.”  – Brown v. Board of Education II

but had been sanctioned by that very judicial body for six decades  – Plessy v. Fergusonenshrined “separate but equal” in the law.

Virginia Governor Thomas B. Stanley vowed to use “every legal means”-- “The Ordeal of Segregation,” by Reed Sarratt

Alabama joined other Southern states in passing laws allowing or requiring school boards to shutter schools  – Encyclopedia of Alabama

Two years after the Brown ruling, not a single black child attended school with white children  – “The Ordeal of Desegregation” by Reed Sarratt

in 1964, a full decade after Brown, just 2.3 percent of the nearly 3 million  – “The Ordeal of Desegregation” by Reed Sarratt

None of those children lived in Tuscaloosa  – “The Ordeal of Desegregatioon” by Reed Sarratt,  court documents

Druid High, students learned from hand-me-down textbooks and lagged behind their white counterparts on achievement tests. The curriculum pushed students toward learning a trade instead of preparing for college.  -- “A History and Personal Account of Secondary Education for Blacks in the Tuscaloosa City School System, 1889-1976,” by McDonald Hughes; interview, James Dent

Druid was a source of pride within the city’s black community  – Interviews, James Dent, Clarence Sutton Sr., Irene Byrd, James Minyard, Robert Coates

the children of domestic workers walked the halls with the children of college professors. Condoleezza Rice was  – Interview with Emma Jean Melton at the Murphy African American Museum in Tuscaloosa; “Condoleeza Rice: An American Life” by Elisabeth Bumiller

from receiving federal education funding, which would soon be increased by more than $1 billion  – Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 

the feds for the first time could sue defiant districts  – 1964 Civil Rights Act

The sweeping legislation brought about the rarest of moments in American history: all three branches of government were aligned on civil rights. Backed by the courts and Congress, the Johnson administration  – Interviews, Gary Orfield of UCLA, Wendy Parker of Wake Forest University; “Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision,” by Peter Irons

Throughout the South, school officials, realizing they could not avoid integration altogether, sought “race neutral” means to control it…All-white schools started disappearing, but all-black schools remained common -- “Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision,” by Peter Irons; court records and Supreme Court rulings; see Alexander v. Holmes, Green v. County School Boardof New Kent County, Swann v. Charlotte-MecklenbergBoard of Education

Still, by 1968, one out of three southern black kids  – “The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change,” by Gerald N. Rosenberg

Supreme Court revealed its growing impatience when it ordered school officials to produce plans that promised “realistically to work”  – Green v County School Board of New KentCounty

Three years later, the Court emphasized that desegregation plans should  – Swann v. Charlotte-MecklenbergBoard of Education

 

MELISSA

Melissa Dent, James’s first child, was born in 1969  – Public records

around the time the National Education Association and the Department of Justice persuaded a federal court  – Court records

South was quickly changing: by the early ’70s, more than 90 percent of black children-- “The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change,” by Gerald N. Rosenberg

Melissa Dent began her education at the same all-black elementary school  – Interview, Melissa Dent; court records

In 1975, the Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund hauled the district back into court  – Court documents; The Tuscaloosa News article

not long before a federal agency placed the Tuscaloosa system on its list of the nation’s worst civil-rights  – The Associated Press article

The case landed on the docket  – Court records

Judge Frank McFadden, a Yale Law  –-educated former Wall Street attorney born in Oxford, Mississippi  – Interview, Frank McFadden

The details of the Jim Crow era—how the words white supremacy were written  – Interview, Frank McFadden

He ultimately decided that Tuscaloosa’s efforts, centered on the creation of neighborhood-based schools  – Interview, Frank McFadden

But the Supreme Court had already made clear that disproportionately black schools …and that housing-based segregation  –  Green v. County School Boardof New Kent County, Swann v. Charlotte-MecklenbergBoard of Education

In overruling McFadden, the federal appeals court noted that the virtually all-black Druid High  – Court records

In the fall of 1979, Central High School opened to serve all public-high-school students in the district --  no matter their race, no matter whether they lived in the city’s public-housing projects  – Court records; interviews, Frank McFadden, Clarence Sutton Jr., Sue Thompson

resulted from many hours of argument and negotiation in McFadden’s chambers  – Interview, Frank McFadden

it was spread across two campuses  – Court records

All traces of the segregated system, from the mascots to the schoolcolors   – Interviews, Clarence Sutton Sr., Clarence Sutton Jr., news accounts

As one of the biggest schools in the state, Central would offer classes in subjects-- Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools

Central racked up debate-team champion-ships. Its math team dominated at state competitions. The cheerleaders tumbled their way to nationals, and the Falcons football team trounced local competitors so badly, some refused to play against it. Central students were regularly named National Merit Scholars-- Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools;interviews,Clarence Sutton Sr., Clarence Sutton Jr., Melissa Dent, Robert Coates, Ernestine Tucker

In 2001, the state found Central’s projected dropout rate to be less than half  – Alabama Department of Education

Black students were disproportionately funneled into vocational classes, and white students into honors  – Court records;The Tuscaloosa News articles; interviews, Dennis Parker, Richard Adams

Some parents complained that competitive opportunities were limited to just the very best students and athletes because the school  – Interviews, former school board members Richard Adams, Shelley Jones, Tulane Duke, John Gordon

at 2,300 students-- Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools

And the white flight that had begun when the courts first ordered the district to desegregate continued  – Alabama Department of Education student demographic reports

large numbers of black students studied the same robust curriculum as white students, and students of both races mixed  – Interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Robert Coates, Isaac Espy, Melissa Dent, Susan Newell

During the 1970s and ’80s, the achievement gap between black and white 13-year-olds was cut roughly in half-- Educational Testing Service, National Center for Education Statistics

Some scholars argue that desegregation had a negligible effect  – “Forced Justice: School Desegregation and the Law,” by David J. Armor

But the overwhelming body of research shows that once black children  – National Academy of Education

A 2014 study conducted by Rucker Johnson, a public--policy professor  – “Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments”

Other studies have found that attending integrated schools  – “A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?”

Melissa Dent attended her first integrated class as a middle-schooler, in 1980, as a result of the court order -- Interview, Melissa Dent; court records

integration had already reached its high-water mark  – “A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?”

Her track team took the state title twice, and she was named Alabama’s top female high-school track  – The Tuscaloosa News articles; interview, Melissa Dent

But she then returned to school, walking onto the track team at the University of Alabama  – diploma; University of Alabama track roster; interview, Melissa Dent

she owns her West End home, a pink-shuttered brick fixer-upper she bought eight years ago  – Property records

 

D’LEISHA

the three-time state indoor shot-put champion  – D’Leisha’s track medals, The Tuscaloosa News articles

But over time, local leaders grew more concerned about the students  – Interviews, Shelley Jones, former school board member Richard Adams, former Tuscaloosa City Council President Jerry Plott; news coverage

White students once accounted for a majority of the Tuscaloosa school  – The Tuscaloosa News

But by the mid-1990s, they made up less than a third. Total enrollment had dropped from 13,500 in 1969 to 10,300 in 1995  – Alabama Department of Education demographic reports, The Tuscaloosa News

Many white parents had decided to send their children to nearly all-white private schools or to move across the city line to access the heavily white Tuscaloosa   – Court records, interviews, Shelley Jones, former board member Richard Adams, former city council president Jerry Plott, school board member Ernestine Tucker, Judge John England

School districts in cities such as Birmingham and Richmond had seen their integration efforts largely  – National Center for Education Statistics

Many officials in Tuscaloosa obsessed about the rippling consequences of continued white flight  – Interviews, Shelley Jones, former school board member Richard Adams, former state Sen. Charles Steele, attorney Sue Thompson, former City Council President Jerry Plott;extensive media coverage, Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools.

Tuscaloosa’s residential population stagnated during the ’90s  – U.S. Census

special urgency in 1993: Tuscaloosa was vying for the Mercedes-Benz plant  – Interviews, former Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama President Johnnie Aycock, former City Council President Jerry Plott

Just a few years earlier, Tuscaloosa had lost out on a bid for a Saturn plant  – Interview, former Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama President Johnnie Aycock; The Tuscaloosa News article

In the early 1990s, an increasingly conservative Supreme Court had issued several crucial rulings   – “The Segregation and Resegregation of American Public Education: The Court’s Role”  – see Board of Education v. Dowell, Freeman v. Pitts, Missouri v. Jenkins

but rather were a “temporary measure to remedy past discrimination,”  – Board of Education v. Dowell

that they’d eliminated segregation “root and branch,”-- Green v. County School Board of New Kent County

that they’d done so to the “extent practicable.”-- Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell

It filed papers in federal court seeking to build a new elementary school called Rock Quarry  – Court records

deep in a nearly all-white part of town separated from the rest of the city by the Black Warrior River  – U.S. Census data

In 1995, Blackburn held a five-day hearing  – Court records

though whiter than the district’s overall school population, would be half black  – Court records

The roster of witnesses lined up behind the school board shocked many  – Interviews, attorney Sue Thompson, school board member Ernestine Tucker, Robert Coates

It included some of the city’s most influential black leaders  – Court records

England had been a member of the first integrated class at the University of Alabama Law  – Interview, John England; official judicial bio; The University of Alabama

England testified as to how the city’s racial views had changed  – Court records

Rumors spread within the community that England’s and others’ support had been part of a secret arrangement  – Interviews, Janell Byrd, Dennis Parker, Ernestine Tucker, attorney Sue Thompson; court records

asked England during his testimony whether  – Court records

Blackburn gave the nod to the new school  – Court records

the school board voted to go back to court  – Interviews, former school board member John Gordon, former school board member Richard Adams; court records

The Legal Defense Fund had by that time started supporting the release of districts… It had seen the writing on the wall  – Interviews, Damon Hewitt, former director of NAACP LDF Education Practice Group, Dennis Parker

A negotiated agreement, supported by the Legal Defense Fund and the Justice Department  – Court records

School leaders publicly pledged to continue desegregation efforts  – The Tuscaloosa News article

Superintendent Bob Winter said that no new schools  – The Tuscaloosa News article

Blackburn, before making what she called the most significant ruling  – The Tuscaloosa News article(Judge Blackburn did not respond to a half-dozen interview requests)

About 50 people showed up, and many urged her to reject the settlement. Emotions were raw. “I wouldn’t be up here if I didn’t think someone was trying to harm my children,” Chykeitha

Roshell told the local paper  – The Tuscaloosa News article

Blackburn seemed to speak to Tuscaloosa’s black community. “I don’t know any of you all, and you don’t”  – The Tuscaloosa Newsarticle

Several others confirmed that white business, school, and city officials met privately with select black leaders  – Interviews, former state Sen. Charles Steele, attorney Sue Thompson, former Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama President Johnnie Aycock, former Tuscaloosa NAACP president Hazel Eubanks, former City Council President Jerry Plott

the story had broken nationally that England’s step-granddaughter had been snubbed  – extensive news coverage following story breaking in The University of Alabama paper The Crimson White

The judge, a university trustee  – The University of Alabama

The hearings opened a rift in Tuscaloosa’s black community, dividing longtime  – Interviews, attorney and education advocate Sue Thompson, Ernestine Tucker, former school board member Richard Adams, former Central coach Clarence Sutton Sr, County Commissioner Reginald Murray

What happened was rapid and continual resegregation, in particular the sequestration of poor black  – Demographic data from the Alabama Department of Education and the Tuscaloosa city schools between 2000 and 2014

In 1999, less than a year after Blackburn’s public hearing, the school board voted,Interview, Robert Coates; The Tuscaloosa News article

Westlawn Middle, in the West End, to its familiar historic state  – Alabama Department of Education demographic data

school board commissioned a biracial committee to figure out what to do about the high school--Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools

By its reasoning, the district had already reached the tipping   – Alabama Department of Education demographic data showing the district was already more than 70 percent black  

that Westlawn Middle School was floundering  – The Tuscaloosa News article

School officials drew Central’s proposed attendance zone compactly  – Tuscaloosa attendance maps; interviews, Robert Coates, former school board member Richard Adams

saying that an all-black high school couldn’t be avoided, because the district couldn’t help where people  – Interview, Shelley Jones

While a vocal group of white parents and leaders supported the high school break-up, large numbers of black and white residents fought against  – Extensive news coverage; interviews, Robert Coates, formers school board member Richard Adams, Clarence Sutton Jr., Clarence Sutton Sr.

A poll of a few dozen parents-- Report of the Restructuring Committee for Tuscaloosa City Schools

August 2000, the seven-member board ordered Central’s dismantling  – Interviews, former school board member Richard Adams, Shelley Jones, County Commissioner Reginald Murray; The Tuscaloosa News article

the vote ensured that nearly a third of the district’s black students would spend their entire 13 years of public education  – Tuscaloosa City Schools students are zoned by clusters, with middle and high school attendance zones determined by the elementary schools that feed into them. The Western Cluster is a set of virtually all-black West End elementary schools that feed only into Westlawn Middle. Westlawn is the only middle school that feeds into Central High School. As a result, a third of students, according to district enrollment reports, can go from kindergarten to graduation in schools that are 99 percent to 100 percent black.

but white parents did not flock to them. By 2007, white enrollment had fallen to 22 percent  – Alabama Department of Education demographic data

The superintendent presented a plan that would send hundreds of black children who were still being bused  – “Recommendation for Student Assignment and Facilities Planning,” Tuscaloosa schools (The Tuscaloosa City Schools refused to turn over any emails or other documents sent by and to former Superintendent Joyce Levey and school board members, including correspondence to and from constituents, other elected officials and/or school employees,  concerning the 2007 redistricting decision. It said it could not provide the contract for the demographer that it paid to produce the plan. Its lawyer did not respond to a half dozen interview requests.)

The idea was that this latest plan would do what the breaking-apart of Central hadn’t  – Interviews, Ernestine Tucker, school board member James Minyard, former school board member Virginia Powell, former school board member Tulane Duke

A racially mixed group of local academics and parents-- The Tuscaloosa News, interviews, University of Alabama professor Lisa Dorr, University of Alabama professor Niramala Erevelles, education advocate Evelyn Baldwin, education advocate Laurie Johns

The day before the school board voted, the president of the historic district association sent an email to his fellow association  – email(Robert Reynolds did not agree to an interview. Former school board member Virginia Powell authenticated the email. Tuscaloosa City Schools attorney Russell Gibson and former school board Chairman Dan Meissner did not respond to a half-dozen interview requests.)

The school board’s final proposal did indeed reflect that change. The final plan also allowed children from a tiny triangle  – Tuscaloosa schools zoning map

On May 3, 2007, as the school board prepared to vote on the new plan, a few members said they had been unaware of the negotiations  – meeting transcript; interviews, Ernestine Tucker, school board member James Minyard, former board member Virginia Powell (Tuscaloosa City Schools attorney Russell Gibson and former school board Chairman Dan Meissner did not respond to a half-dozen interview requests. Former Superintendent Joyce Levey did not respond to interview requests.)

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has opened an investigation  – Department of Education complaint; Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.

A separate 2011 study in the American Economic Journal  – “The End of Court-Ordered Desegregation,”by Byron Lutz

The Stanford researchers found that school systems’ white populations slightly declined  – “Brown Fades,” by Sean Reardon, et al

found in a recent study that they are nearly as irregular as legislative districts-- “The Gerrymandering of School Attendance Zones and the Racial/Ethnic Segregation of Public Schools,” by Meredith Richards

Kentucky’s Jefferson County Public Schools, serving Louisville, are often held up as an example. The battle for desegregation had been violent there  – Interview, Tracy E. K’Meyer, History Department chair, the University of Louisville

And the Obama administration, while saying integration is important  – Interview, Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

offers almost no incentives that would entice school districts to increase it  – Federal Support for School Integration: A Status Report; Education, Equity and Opportunity in the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 Budget

High-poverty, segregated black and Latino schools account for the majority of the roughly 1,400 high schools  – “Building a Grad Nation,”by Civic Enterprise, et al

But most studies conclude that it’s the concentration of poor students in the same school  – “Closing the achievement gap between high-poverty schools and low-poverty schools”;“Housing Policy Is School Policy: Economically Integrative Housing Promotes Academic Success in Montgomery County, Maryland”;“The Relationship Between School Poverty and Student Achievement in Maine”

As a school’s black population increases, the odds that any given teacher there will have significant experience, full licensure, or a master’s degree all decline. Teacher turnover at segregated schools-- "Student Demographics, Teacher Sorting and Teacher Quality: Evidence from the End of School Desegregation”;"The Academic Consequences of Desegregation and Segregation: Evidence from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools";Annotated Bibliography: The Impact of School-Based Poverty Concentration on Academic Achievement & Student Outcomes

And black students, overall, are less likely than any other group of students to
attend schools with Advanced Placement courses
  – U.S. Department of Education data

The achievement gap for black students grows the longer  – “Harming the Best: How Schools Affect the Black-White Achievement Gap,”by Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin

When they start 8th grade, black students are already three years behind their white counterparts in math and reading  – National Center for Education Statistics

board member Bryan Chandler pledged that there would be no winners and losers  – The Tuscaloosa News article

Yet while Northridge offered students a dozen Advanced Placement classes  – Northridge high school master schedule

the new Central went at least five years without a single one-- Interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Ernestine Tucker

Central students didn’t have a school newspaper or a yearbook. Until last year, Central didn’t even offer physics -- Interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Paul McKendrick, Ernestine Tucker, Central High School students

The same superintendent who oversaw the 2007 redistricting reportedly called Tuscaloosa’s all-black schools a “dumping ground” for bad teachers  – Interview, Ernestine Tucker, school board member James Minyard (Superintendent Joyce Levey did not respond to interview requests.)

Teachers hired from outside Tuscaloosa were, for many years, allowed to apply to specific schools  – Interview, Paul McKendrick

By the time students get to Central, most have spent nine years in low-performing  – Alabama Department of Education; interviews, Clarence Sutton Jr., Ernestine Tucker

More than 80 percent of them come from families with incomes low enough  – Tuscaloosa schools enrollment data

Earlier this year, the state of Alabama designated Central and Westlawn Middle School  – Alabama Department of Education

Much of the neighborhood surrounding it is middle-class and predominantly white  – U.S. Census

Her mother’s alma mater, the University of Alabama, expects a 21, the national average. Many four-year colleges will not even consider students who score below an 18  – The University of Alabama Office of Admissions; ACT

They’re stretched thin trying to keep in class the seniors—roughly 35 percent of them—who fail to graduate  – Alabama Department of Education graduation data

At no point in the history of our country have half of black children attended majority white schools   – “E Pluribus…Separation: Deepening Double Segregation for More Students

Even now in Tuscaloosa, a secret deal to give the district land to build a new school-- Interviews, education advocate Laurie Johns, Ernestine Tucker, Paul McKendrick; see also The Tuscaloosa News

though 1,500 seats sit unfilled  – Interview, Ernestine Tucker, Paul McKendrick

she got up quietly, forced a few bites of a muffin into her nervous stomach, and drove once again to the community  – Interview, D’Leisha Dent

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