Journalism in the Public Interest


Discussion: School Resegregation 60 Years After Brown v. Board

The St. Louis Board of Education is picketed by the NAACP for not going far enough to integrate schools July 27, 1963. (Bettmann / Corbis / AP Images)

On May 18, 1954, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled segregation had no place in U.S. public schools. But 60 years later, many grandchildren of Brown v. Board of education are being isolated in poor, apartheid schools. ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones reported on the causes of this troubling trend in our recent investigation into school resegregation in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Since 2000, judges have released hundreds of school districts, from Mississippi to Virginia, from court-enforced integration, and many of these districts have followed the same path as Tuscaloosa's — back toward segregation. Black children across the South now attend majority-black schools at levels not seen in four decades. Nationally, the achievement gap between black and white students, which greatly narrowed during the era in which schools grew more integrated, widened as they became less so.

In fact, the number of apartheid schools — those with a white population of 1 percent or less — mushroomed from 2,762 in 1988, the peak of integration, to 6,727 in 2011. What is behind this trend? And what does it mean for American students?

Hannah-Jones (@nhannahjones) and NPR's Gene Demby (@GeeDee215) discussed the issue of resegregation and the anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education on Friday, May 16. An archive of the discussion follows. 


Projects You Can Help With


Transcript: Are Drug Laws Punishing Innocent Mothers?

Read the Chat



Ask ProPublica Anything About Our Red Cross Investigation

Ask a Question


Transcript: Should Public Schools be Free to Pin Down Students?

Weigh In



Discussion: How To Protect Your Privacy Online

Read Transcript


More on This Investigation

Photos: Baltimore in the Wake of Freddie Gray

In the tumult following Freddie Gray’s death, a young photographer documented life in a city under siege.

Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law

The authors of the 1968 Fair Housing Act wanted to reverse decades of government-fostered segregation. But presidents from both parties declined to enforce a law that stirred vehement opposition.

Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why.

Shots were fired in Long Island, but there was no rush to call 911. It made perfect sense to ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Supreme Court’s Latest Race Case: Housing Discrimination

Many fear Texas case could gut the landmark Fair Housing Act.

A National Survey of School Desegregation Orders

Use ProPublica’s reporting to see if your school district is under a court order to end segregation.