ALIVE AND WELL: Enduring Stereotypes in Southern School Desegregation Academic Article uri icon


  • Because gender remains under-examined in extant school desegregation literature, many questions linger about how it shaped the experiences of desegregating students in K-12 schools around the country. In response, this paper provides an analysis of the literature on southern Black desegregating students' firsthand accounts to identify how whites tended to mistreat and typecast said students based on racial-gender stereotypes. The guiding question is: In southern school desegregation literature, how do Black students' firsthand experiences map onto existing stereotypes of African Americans? The subsequent sections of this paper present the sources and methods used for this project, followed by the conceptual framework and key terms. Next, a presentation of select excerpts from literature on school desegregation exposes gender and stereotypical distinctions that refrain from interrogating their meaning. This article highlights how anti-Black constructions of African American desegregating students prevailed in schools by supplementing these discussions with an analysis of carefully selected passages. The author argues that whites' stereotypical depictions situated Black students in familiar iterations of oppression to uphold assumptions about their inferiority and subhuman status, constraining the extent to which they could take advantage of resources in new schools. To close, this article underscores what research has yet to analyze regarding gender in school desegregation studies, emphasizing the possibilities of reinterpreting this era through a lens sensitive to multiple, simultaneouslyactive identities.

published proceedings

  • American Educational History Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • James-Gallaway, A. D.

complete list of authors

  • James-Gallaway, ArCasia D

publication date

  • January 2019