Cover image for Historical dictionary of school segregation and desegregation : the American experience
Historical dictionary of school segregation and desegregation : the American experience
Raffel, Jeffrey A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xxxi, 345 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1290 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LC212.52 .R34 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Throughout the nation's history, from before the Civil War through Reconstruction, across the years of lynchings and segregation to the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the battles over busing, no issue has divided the American people more than race, and at the heart of the race issue has been the conflict over school segregation and desegregation. Prior to the Civil War, South Carolina enacted the first compulsory illiteracy law, which made it a crime to teach slaves to write, and other Southern states soon followed South Carolina's example. After the Civil War, schools for blacks were founded throughout the South, including many Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision established the principle of separate but equal education, which led to decades of segregation. With the 1954 Brown decision, the Supreme Court overturned the separate but equal principle, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 empowered the federal government to affect school desegregation. The process of desegregation continues to this day, with much debate and mixed results.

Through more than 260 alphabetically arranged entries, this comprehensive reference book describes persons, court decisions, terms and concepts, legislation, reports and books, types of plans, and organizations central to the struggle for educational equality. The volume covers topics ranging from emotionally laden terms such as busing to complex legal concepts such as de facto and de jure segregation. Each entry includes factual information, a summary of different viewpoints, and a brief bibliography. The book includes an introduction, which outlines the history of school segregation and desegregation, along with a chronology and extensive bibliographic material. Thus this reference is a complete guide to school segregation and desegregation in elementary, secondary, and higher education in the United States.

Author Notes

JEFFREY A. RAFFEL is Professor and Director of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware and has served as a researcher, scholar, expert witness, practitioner, community leader, and parent in the school desegregation process. He has published three previous books, and his articles have appeared in journals such as Harvard Educational Review , Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis , Phi Delta Kappan , Urban Affairs Quarterly , Journal of Urban Affairs , and Urban Education . From 1974 through 1978 he served as executive director of the Delaware Committee on the School Decision, which worked toward the desegregation of Delaware's schools.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tracing the topic of school segregation and desegregation in the U.S. from the eighteenth century to the present, this work presents a comprehensive review of the forces and events that have driven and shaped this controversial issue. Essays ranging from several paragraphs to several pages in length describe the more than 260 alphabetically arranged topics, including significant court cases, legislation, persons, organizations, types of school desegregation plans, and concepts and terms. The introduction provides valuable analysis, including discussion on the stages of school desegregation, evaluations of the topic from the research literature, today's issues, and thoughts on possible future developments. Each entry includes a factual description, a summary of different viewpoints, and a brief bibliography. Within the essays, asterisks mark terms and names that have their own entry, in order to alert readers to related information. A chronology of key dates and events covers September 17, 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was adopted, to November 5, 1996, when California voters adopted Proposition 209, limiting affirmative action. The main focus, however, is on the last 50 years in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Author Raffel points out that selectivity was required, and thus not all segregation-related court cases and people are included. Likewise, this book is not intended to be a historical dictionary of civil rights or African American education. The volume does, however, cover expected topics plus major related ones. For example, ability grouping, affirmative action, busing, magnet schools, and racism are here, along with entries for Linda Carol Brown, daughter of the first plaintiff in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, and Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. The general bibliography at the end of the volume provides a wealth of additional sources for further exploration, and a separate geographical bibliography will help users interested in locating particular cases by city or school district. Essays are written in a nonjudgmental style, giving the arguments and reasoning of those with different opinions on both sides of the issues. This is a thorough and objective work for study of the issues of race and equity in education. Academic and large public libraries will want to acquire it for their students, teachers, scholars, practitioners, and interested public.

Library Journal Review

Intended primarily for educational historians, public policy planners, and those interested in the history of the struggle for civil rights in education, this alphabetically arranged dictionary explicates more than 270 personal names, plans, court decisions, reports, concepts, terms, organizations, legislative mandates, and state and federal agencies involved in the school segregation/desegregation conundrum. Raffel (Sch. of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Univ. of Delaware) has been personally involved in school desegregation and has published extensively on the process in professional journals. Each well-written and logically organized entry in this unique dictionary has its own bibliography to support the nonjudgmental definitions supplied. The personal names included also have a list of sources for further research. More detailed and current than Richard Kluger's Simple Justice (LJ 3/1/76), Raffel's dictionary covers the period from 1787 through the Plessy and Brown decisions to California's 1996 Proposition 209 vote (the entry on the late George Curley Wallace, however, needs updating). Extensive cross references help lead the user to related entries. A post-Revolutionary War chronology helps outline the checkered events concerning race issues and schools, from preschools to higher education. A bibliographical essay and an extensive, nine-page bibliography add to the utility of this appropriately priced volume.‘Scott R. Johnson, Whittemore Park Middle Sch., Conway, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A valuable source on school segregation and desegregation, this work focuses on the concepts, issues, court cases, and pivotal movers from the period before the Civil War to about 1997. The author (Director of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Univ. of Delaware) covers 270 well-chosen topics. He brings clarity to difficult-to-grasp concepts, such as burden of proof and de jure vs. de facto segregation. Entries, which include references to pertinent sources, vary in length; for example, busing is covered in four pages and clustering in one. Cross-references, an eight-page chronology, bibliographic essay, geographic bibliography, and general bibliography add to the work's usefulness. Recommended for high school, college, and public libraries interested in the history of education or civil rights. P. Palmer; University of Memphis

Table of Contents

Introduction Chronology
The Dictionary
Bibliographical Essay
General Bibliography
Geographical Bibliography