Skip to content
Credit: Sarahbeth Maney/ ProPublica

The Legacy of Segregation Academies

Join us to discuss how private schools known as “segregation academies” in the Deep South continue to preserve divisions within communities.

In partnership with Chalkbeat.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled state-sanctioned school segregation unconstitutional in the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, white parents and community leaders opened hundreds of private schools across the Deep South that came to be known as “segregation academies.” Seven decades after Brown, many of these private schools survive and often continue to perpetuate segregated education systems.

Wilcox County, Alabama, is a rural area in the heart of the state’s Black Belt where schools are sharply segregated by race. The local segregation academy, Wilcox Academy, is nearly all white, and the public schools are virtually all Black. Many families in Wilcox County, Black and white, feel that their children would be better off, culturally and resource-wise, if they were schooled together. But they have not been able to figure out how to integrate the schools.

During this virtual event — the first in a series focused on education in 2024 — reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes and a panel of speakers will discuss the initial story in Hawes’ series on segregation academies and how these institutions preserve divisions within communities. It will also address the history of these schools and what racial divisions still look like in one Black Belt county.

Can't attend? Register to receive a recording of the program.

Speakers include:

  • Amberly Sheffield, The University of Mississippi PhD student and historical consultant
  • Dr. Andre Saulsberry, Wilcox County Public Schools superintendent
  • Jennifer Berry Hawes, ProPublica reporter
  • Mara Shalhoup, ProPublica South editor
  • Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews, BAMA Kids, Inc. executive director, and one of the first Black students to desegregate Wilcox County schools

This event has ended.