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What Led to Desegregation Busing—And Did It Work?

July 9, 2019 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

After a 1954 ruling declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional, a decades-long effort to integrate them through busing was often met with violent protests.

Kids have been riding buses to get to school since the 1920s. But the practice became politically charged when desegregation busing, starting in the 1950s, attempted to integrate schools.

The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling in , Matthew Delmont, a professor of history at Dartmouth College, writes that the hot-button issue of the busing crisis was not about busing but “about unconstitutional racial discrimination in the public schools. … Judges ordered ‘busing’ as a remedy in northern school districts such as Boston, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Pontiac that were found guilty of intentional de jure segregation in violation of Brown v. Board and the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Black leaders were mixed on the practice. Activist Jesse Jackson, NAACP officials and U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm were among those who supported busing efforts and policies. But many black nationalists argued that focus should instead be placed on strengthening schools in black communities.

A February 1981 Gallup Poll found 60 percent of blacks were in favor busing, while 30 percent were opposed to it. Among white people surveyed, 17 percent favored busing, and 78 percent were against it.

“It ain’t the bus, it’s us,’’ Jackson told The New York Times in 1981. ‘’Busing is absolutely a code word for desegregation. The forces that have historically been in charge of segregation are now being asked to be in charge of desegregation.’”

How the NAACP Fights Racial Discrimination (TV-PG; 3:41)

Still, some scholars see desegregation busing as a success. A 2011 study by Rucker Johnson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, found that school desegregation significantly increased educational and occupational achievements, college quality and adult earnings for black students. It also reduced the probability of incarceration, and improved adult health status. Among white students, Johnson found desegregation had no measurable effect.

Despite the results, desegregation busing remained limited. In the end, Delmont writes, the court-ordered busing effort, which applied to fewer than 5 percent of the nation’s public school students, “failed to more fully desegregate public schools because school officials, politicians, courts and the news media valued the desires of parents more than the rights of black students.”

Today, many school districts across the country remain largely segregated. …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Abolition of slavery announced in Texas on "Juneteenth"

July 9, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

In what is now known as Juneteenth, on this day in 1865, Union soldiers arrive in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War is over and slavery in the United States is abolished.

A mix of June and 19th, Juneteenth has become a day to commemorate the end of slavery in America. Despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued more than two years earlier on January 1, 1863, a lack of Union troops in the rebel state of Texas made the order difficult to enforce. Some historians blame the lapse in time on poor communication in that era, while others believe Texan slave-owners purposely withheld the information.

Upon arrival and leading the Union soldiers, Major Gen. Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

On that day, 250,000 enslaved people were freed, and despite the message to stay and work for their owners, many now-former slaves left the state immediately and headed north or to nearby states in search of family members they’d been ripped apart from.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or observance (those that don’t recognize it: Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota). An effort by former President Barack Obama to make it a national holiday failed to pass.

READ MORE: What is Juneteenth?

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Elvis Presley makes first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”

July 9, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

The King of Rock and Roll teams up with TV’s reigning variety program, as Elvis Presley appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the first time.

After earning big ratings for “The Steve Allen Show,” the Dorsey Brothers “Stage Show” and “The Milton Berle Show,” Sullivan finally reneged on his Presley ban, signing the controversial singing star to an unprecedented $50,000 contract for three appearances.

With 60 million viewers—or 82.6 percent of TV viewers at the time—tuning in, the appearance garnered the show’s best ratings in two years and became the most-watched TV broadcast of the 1950s.

Although “The Ed Sullivan Show” was filmed in New York, Presley performed remotely from CBS’s Los Angeles studio (he was filming his first movie, “Love Me Tender,” in California). At the time, his first album, “Elvis Presley” had already debuted and “Heartbreak Hotel” was a hit single, but he wasn’t quite yet “The King.”

On the variety show, Presley, then 21, was introduced by British actor Charles Laughton, who was filling in for Sullivan that night, as the legendary host was at home recovering from a serious car accident. Presley performed “Don’t Be Cruel,” Little Richard’s “Ready Teddy” and “Hound Dog” and viewers got a full head-to-toe look at the singer despite fears of “vulgar” hip-shaking gyrations. He also sang “Love Me Tender” and, according to Variety, “For the first time in the history of the record business, a single record has achieved one million sales before being released to the public.”

Presley, clad in a plaid jacket, told the audience performing on the show was “probably the greatest honor I have ever had in my life,” before kicking things off with “Don’t Be Cruel.” He said, “Thank you, ladies,” to the screaming fans and then introduced “Love Me Tender” as “completely different from anything we’ve ever done.”

During his second segment, Presley sang “Ready Teddy” and “Hound Dog.” Laughton’s closing remarks that night? “Well, what did someone say? Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast?”

“When it was over, parents and critics, as usual, did a lot of futile grumbling at the vulgarity of this strange phenomenon that must somehow be reckoned with,” a reviewer for Time magazine wrote at the time.

Other guests that night included singers Dorothy Sarnoff and Amru Sani, a comedy act from novelty quartet The Vagabonds, a tap dancing duo and an acrobat act.

During his …read more

Source: HISTORY