Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Cutler

Major

Sociology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis examines the ways in which widespread assumptions about the purposes of integration inform the creation and implementation of integration policy, with a focus on Macdonough Elementary School in Middletown, CT. The project examines the ways in which these assumptions have influenced Board decisions about policies like the Connecticut Racial Imbalance Law, which have led to a contentious history with communities of color in Middletown, particularly in the North End. I have acted as a participant observer for this project, and have volunteered my time with the North End Action Team as part of my research. Chapter 1 establishes the theoretical basis for this work, with an emphasis on Jonathan Kozol and Irving Joyner in particular. Joyner makes the case for black schools as centers for community and empowerment, and laments the destruction of these institutions and the loss of black trust in education as a result of white retribution for forced integration. In contrast, Kozol is a strong believer in integration at all costs, and his work demonstrates many of the assumptions outlined in this thesis. Chapter 2 outlines the historical basis of the Racial Imbalance Law, as well as the current stipulations of the law. Chapter 3 is an exploration of the history of Macdonough and the Middletown School District in the context of the Racial Imbalance Law and other racial factors. In Chapter 4, I discuss the events surrounding the threat from school officials to close Macdonough, including community action that I participated in. I have tried to include as many first-hand community voices as I could in this section so that people can tell their own stories.

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