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Just Trying to Have School
The Struggle for Desegregation in Mississippi

By Natalie G. Adams
and James H. Adams

320 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches

9781496819536 Printed casebinding $90.00S

9781496819543 Paper $30.00S

A study of the history of desegregation in Mississippi schools

After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, no state fought longer or harder to preserve segregated schools than Mississippi. This massive resistance came to a crashing halt in October 1969 when the Supreme Court ruled in Alexander v. Holmes Board of Education that "the obligation of every school district is to terminate dual school systems at once and to operate now and hereafter only unitary schools."

Thirty of the thirty-three Mississippi districts named in the case were ordered to open as desegregated schools after Christmas break. With little guidance from state officials and no formal training or experience in effective school desegregation processes, ordinary people were thrown into extraordinary circumstances. However, their stories have been largely ignored in desegregation literature.

Based on meticulous archival research and oral history interviews with over one hundred parents, teachers, students, principals, superintendents, community leaders, and school board members, Natalie G. Adams and James H. Adams explore the arduous and complex task of implementing school desegregation. How were bus routes determined? Who lost their position as principal? Who was assigned to what classes?

Without losing sight of the important macro forces in precipitating social change, the authors shift attention to how the daily work of "just trying to have school" helped shape the contours of school desegregation in communities still living with decisions made fift y years ago.

NATALIE G. ADAMS, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is director of New College and professor of social and cultural studies in education at the University of Alabama. She is coauthor of Cheerleader!: An American Icon and coeditor of Geographies of Girlhood: Identities In-Between. JAMES H. ADAMS, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is professor of instructional systems and workforce development at Mississippi State University. He has published articles in the Journal of Career and Technical Education, the International Journal of Instructional Media, the Journal of Interactive Learning Research, and the Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies.

320 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches