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Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, North Carolina, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South
     

Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, North Carolina, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South

by David S. Cecelski
 

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David Cecelski chronicles one of the most sustained and successful protests of the civil rights movement--the 1968-69 school boycott in Hyde County, North Carolina. For an entire year, the county's black citizens refused to send their children to school in protest of a desegregation plan that required closing two historically black schools in their remote coastal

Overview

David Cecelski chronicles one of the most sustained and successful protests of the civil rights movement--the 1968-69 school boycott in Hyde County, North Carolina. For an entire year, the county's black citizens refused to send their children to school in protest of a desegregation plan that required closing two historically black schools in their remote coastal community. Parents and students held nonviolent protests daily for five months, marched twice on the state capitol in Raleigh, and drove the Ku Klux Klan out of the county in a massive gunfight.

The threatened closing of Hyde County's black schools collided with a rich and vibrant educational heritage that had helped to sustain the black community since Reconstruction. As other southern school boards routinely closed black schools and displaced their educational leaders, Hyde County blacks began to fear that school desegregation was undermining--rather than enhancing--this legacy. This book, then, is the story of one county's extraordinary struggle for civil rights, but at the same time it explores the fight for civil rights in all of eastern North Carolina and the dismantling of black education throughout the South.

Editorial Reviews

Gilbert Taylor
The provocative story of the "Brown" decision's impact on one Tidewater county draws into question some of integration's cherished precepts. The Supreme Court's 1954 edict took 14 years to wind its way to Hyde County, when in 1968 the educrats at HEW brought pressure on local officials to integrate schools. As they had done elsewhere, powerful whites tried to accomplish the job and still maintain power: they proposed to close two black schools and to send the pupils to existing white ones. Both they and HEW made no provision for the constituency of fondness and pride the two schools had built up over generations, sentiments that rose into a grassroots boycott of the integration plan in 1968 and 1969. In his originally researched investigation, Cecelski soberly narrates the course of the protest's ultimate success in preserving the two black schools. But this paradoxical case of a civil rights protest to maintain a type of segregation was an exception, Cecelski says; in the rest of the South, integration eradicated black schools. Such original scholarship when "school choice" is a current issue bears serious contemplation.
From the Publisher
"A superb piece of scholarship. . . . Must reading for any student wishing to fully understand the legacy of the Brown case.

Journal of Southern History

Such original scholarship when 'school choice' is a current issue bears serious contemplation.

Booklist

Cecelski makes his case with clarity and fairness.

Progressive

A well-written analysis of a neglected feature of the civil rights movement in the South.

North Carolina Historical Review

Along Freedom Road is a book that should be read by anyone interested in civil rights, schooling, and southern history.

History of Education Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807860731
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
11/09/2000
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
3 MB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Cecelski adeptly captures the dynamics and interactions among the various local, state, and federal agencies, grassroots groups, and national civil rights organizations. He also skillfully weaves this account into a coherent narrative. . . . Along Freedom Road represents an important chapter in the still unfolding story of school desegregation. It is required reading for all those who are interested in understanding more about how African Americans view their schools.—Southern Cultures

Provocative and illuminating. . . . Let us be grateful to Cecelski for shedding new light on a dimension of school desegregation that so many of us have ignored for so long.—Journal of American History

A must read for those interested in the ongoing debate about the long-term implications of school integration and desegregation.—Choice

Cecelski reveals the underside of school desegregation, that southern blacks bore most of its burdens. . . . A well-written analysis of a neglected feature of the civil rights movement in the South.—North Carolina Historical Review

A fascinating and well-documented case study of the successful year-long school boycott carried out by African-American parents and students to save two historically black public schools. . . . [The] first detailed analysis of what can happen when African-American parents and educators decide to take responsibility for the training of black children in the era of so-called public school desegregation.—American Historical Review

Cecelski makes his case with clarity and fairness, weaving the larger message of his book through the important story of a community of black people who set out to save a piece of their heritage, believing that it was simply too important to lose.—Progressive

The provocative story of the Brown decision's impact on one Tidewater county draws into question some of integration's cherished precepts. . . . Such original scholarship when 'school choice' is a current issue bears serious contemplation.—Booklist

Along Freedom Road is a book that should be read by anyone interested in civil rights, schooling, and southern history.—History of Education Quarterly

A superb piece of scholarship. . . . Well written and well organized. . . . Must reading for any student wishing to fully understand the legacy of the Brown case.—Journal of Southern History

Meet the Author

David S. Cecelski is the Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor in Documentary and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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