A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools

A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools

by Rachel Devlin


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A new history of school desegregation in America, revealing how girls and women led the fight for interracial education

The struggle to desegregate America's schools was a grassroots movement, and young women were its vanguard. In the late 1940s, parents began to file desegregation lawsuits with their daughters, forcing Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights lawyers to take up the issue and bring it to the Supreme Court. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, girls far outnumbered boys in volunteering to desegregate formerly all-white schools.

In A Girl Stands at the Door, historian Rachel Devlin tells the remarkable stories of these desegregation pioneers. She also explains why black girls were seen, and saw themselves, as responsible for the difficult work of reaching across the color line in public schools. Highlighting the extraordinary bravery of young black women, this bold revisionist account illuminates today's ongoing struggles for equality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541697331
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Rachel Devlin is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1 Roots of Change Lucile Bluford's Long Crusade 47

2 "This Lone Negro Girl" Ada Lois Sipuel, Desegregation Champion 104

3 Girls on the Front Line Grassroots Challenges in the Late 1940s 160

4 Laying the Groundwork Esther Brown and the Struggle in South Park, Kansas 223

5 "Hearts and Minds" The Road to Brown v Board of Education 289

6 "Take Care of My Baby" The Isolation of the First "Firsts" 363

7 "We Raised Our Hands and Said 'Yes We Will Go' " Desegregating Schools in the Mid-1960s 410

Epilogue 484

Acknowledgments 505

Archives and Collections 513

Notes 517

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