School Desegregation in Noxubee County

(1969-1970) Similar to numerous other schools, Noxubee County did not immediately integrate schools after the Brown v. Board decision. After the Aug. 1968 case of Adams v. Matthews, Noxubee County was order by the federal courts to implement integration. The initial reaction to the lawsuit from the white citizens was to form a private school. During that summer, white citizens formed the Noxubee Educational Foundation which established a private academy. Attendance was low in its first year. In Summer 1969, the county received another order to finally desegregate schools. Up until this time, students of all races had the freedom of choice to attend any school they wished. Unfortunately, it did very little to achieve integration. This time, the federal courts were abandoning the “freedom of choice”policy and ordering the school board implement a satisfactory plan of desegregation. By November 1969, the federal court intervened again and ordered the board to take action by January 1970. The black schools were closed and all of the schools were consolidated. By the time the schools opened in January, enrollment at the academy greatly increased and most blacks boycotted the entire term. Only twenty-five of the 4,000 black students enrolled and attended class the first day of the new school year. By September 1970, black attendance had risen to over 3,000 while only seventy-one white students remained at the public schools. White attendance at the academy quadrupled to about 800.