Civil Rights Movement

School Desegregation

1954 marked a monumental milestone in the struggle for civil rights as the Supreme Court ruled that public schools must be desegregated [4]. While this ruling mandated that schools in Louisville be desegregated, they weren’t. The mayor stated that students could go to any school that they wished to attend [3]. However, schools remained largely segregated because African Americans were lived mainly in the city and couldn’t get to the schools in the suburbs, where the white kids went [3]. Seeing the injustice behind this, civil rights activists around Louisville began acting to change this.

Approached by Lyman Johnson, Suzy Post agreed to work towards desegregating schools [3]. Working with the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union at the time, Post joined with Legal Aid Society and the NAACP to file a court case against the Jefferson County Public Schools forcing them to desegregate schools [5]. As they began compiling information for the case, they recognized that they needed a white plaintiff who had children in the public school systems, and Suzy Post agreed [6]. With all of this in place, the case began and a plan for desegregating schools involving busing students to schools across the county to integrate the schools was decided on [5].

Although great things were occurring in society, Post, her family, and African American students were feeling the consequences. Post and her family were being confronted by the Ku Klux Klan and Save Our Community to stop fighting for implementation of busing across Louisville [3]. Along with that, her kids were facing criticism and hatred as well. They were bullied, left out, and criticized for having Suzy Post as their mom [6]. The African American students being bused to white schools experienced situations similar to this. They were blamed for problems that they didn’t cause and many ended up being suspended or sent to facilities that dealt with behavioral disorders [3]. Post felt personally responsible for these problems, and worked towards fixing them.

In order to make sure that the plan succeeded, she immediately took the lead on the project. She met with the Jefferson County Board of Education and pro-segregation groups to discuss plans to make the transition for busing students around Louisville easier [2]. She continued to meet with these groups to raise awareness for the violations that they were committing. She hoped that by raising awareness in these groups, they would stop committing violations and begin helping her out [2]. While this didn’t occur immediately, she never stopped fighting for this cause.

This problem and the effects of the lawsuit are still apparent today. African American students are being suspended too often, advanced classes are predominately white, learning differences classes have too many students in them, teachers aren’t properly taught how to teach, and there aren’t enough teachers [3]. Suzy Post put a lot of her time and effort into helping change the way society functioned and still continues to. She saw the injustice in segregated schools and set a goal to end it. As she looks back, she regards her involvement and work to end school segregation as one of her greatest accomplishments [7].

 

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[1]: Baldwin , Yvonne, and John Ernst. “The Not So Silent Minority: Louisville’s Antiwar Movement: 1966-1975.” The Journal of Southern History. 73. (2007): 105-142. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27649318 (accessed March 1, 2013).

[2]: Thuesen, Sarah . “Documenting the American South: Oral Histories of the American South.” Documenting the American South homepage. http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/playback.html?base_file=U-0178 (accessed January 30, 2013).

[3]: Brinson, Betsy. 1999. Interview with Suzy Post. Kentucky Civil Rights Oral History Project, Kentucky Oral History Commission and Kentucky Historical Society. http://205.204.134.47/civil_rights_mvt/media/KCRP.20.B.1.Post.pdf (accessed April 17, 2013).

[4]:McBride, Alex. “Brown v. Board of Education.” Supreme Court: Landmark Cases. PBS. (December 2006): http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_brown.html (accessed April 29,2013).

[5]: “Timeline: Desegregation in Jefferson County Public Schools.” Courier Journal. (4 Sept 2005):http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200550904028 (accessed April 29, 2013).

[6]:Fosl, Catherine. 1991. Interview with Suzanne W. Post. Anne Braden Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries,http://nyx.uky.edu/oh/render.php?cachefile=2006OH207_AB16_Post.xml (accessed April 17, 2013).

[7]: Qualls, Tahnee and Sandell, Katelyn. 2013. Interview with Suzy Post. University of Kentucky HON 251. http://www.kywcrh.org/projects/kchr-hall-of-fame/post/post-organizations (accessed April 20, 2013).

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