Court Tells Mississippi Town to Desegregate Public Schools

Cleveland, Miss., a town that was once a hotbed for segregation and racism, has come a long way since the Civil Rights era. However, not all segregation has been eradicated from the neighborhood. On Friday, after a 50-year battle with the state, a federal court ordered the Cleveland school system to desegregate by consolidating its middle schools and high schools.

The vast majority of one of the middle schools is made up of black children. Similarly, one of the high schools is largely populated by black teens. The other middle and high school are mostly white. According to the Clarion Ledger, people have been fighting segregation in the schools for 50 years, making this groundbreaking news for everyone that has been dreaming of equality in Cleveland (which, we hope, is the entire town of 12,000 people).

The Cleveland school system provided two alternative plans, but the court rejected them and ruled them as unconstitutional, according to Reuters. U.S. District Judge Debra Brown found that the only real way to desegregate the schools would be to consolidate historically black and historically white schools into more diverse communities. 

This court order was made 62 years after the historic case Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that the "separate but equal" has no place in public schools. "This decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional," said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, according to CNN. The Cleveland school system is apparently still deciding whether they want to appeal the decision. Otherwise, it has 21 days to submit a timeline to enact Brown's decision. 

The town, which borders the Mississippi Delta, used to be a gold mine for cotton plantations and slaves. While we're happy that this court ruling was made, we're forced to wonder why the desegregation took so long to happen.