Desegregation in Carroll

(1965) Until 1965, Carroll County maintained separate schools for white students and African-American students. In Carrollton, the white students attended J.Z. George High School, and the African-American students attended Marshall High School. Similarly, in Vaiden, the white students attended Vaiden High School, and the African-American students attended the North Vaiden School (later known as Percy A. Hathorn Public School, which is now closed, and all students go to J.Z. George High School in Carrollton).

During the summer of 1965, the parent of an African-American student in Carroll County filed a complaint with the office of U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. On Aug. 23, the petitioner met with school officials to request desegregation of the schools because Marshall School suffered from a lack of facilities, such as access to only one typewriter for students taking a typing class.

On August 26, 1965, twenty-seven African-American students attempted to register at J.Z. George High School, which was still an all-white school. The students were given transfer slips to be submitted to the board for consideration. Carroll County had opted to forfeit federal funds in order to retain segregation in the schools. As a result, the school lost its home economics course and its vocational program.

On August 31, Judge Claude F. Clayton, United States District Judge at Oxford heard arguments from Carroll County school officials as to why an injunction should not be issued to end segregation in the county schools. The judge ruled that by the following day the county must submit a plan for desegregating the first grade, twelfth grade and two others. The county had to also submit a plan for desegregating four grades per year for the next three years. The order from Judge Clayton required that students be permitted to transfer from one school to another in order to take classes not offered at the original school. Additionally, it required teacher salaries and the student-teacher ratio to be equal at all schools. The judge also demanded that new students entering the county be allowed to select their school regardless of whether that grade has been integrated. On Sept. 2, Carroll County school officials announced that as of September 8 they would integrate grades one, two, three and twelve. On September 8, African-American students enrolled in the all-white schools in Carroll County without incident.

In 1965, Carrollton residents established Carroll Academy, a private school offering pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The student body is reported to be almost 100% white.

Sources:

Negroes Apply At Carrollton, Greenwood Commonwealth, Aug. 26, 1965, at 1.

Vaiden.net, Vaiden’s Schools, www.vaiden.net (last visited April 15, 2007).

Tuesday Hearing for Carrollton School System, Greenwood Commonwealth, Aug. 30, 1965, at 1.

Four Grades Named to Mix at Carrollton, Greenwood Commonwealth, Sept. 2, 1965, at 1.

Negroes Enter Carrollton Schools Today, Greenwood Commonwealth, Sept. 8, 1965, at 1.

Schooltree.org, Carroll Academy, http://mississippi.schooltree.org/private/Carroll-Academy-011115.html (last visited April 15, 2007).