Did Brown v. Board accomplish integration in 60 years since decision?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –It’s Richmond Community High School today, but in 1960, that building was known as Chandler Middle School.

It became the first racially integrated school in Richmond, more than six years after the passage of Brown v. Board of Education.

Oliver Hill Jr. remembers that day like it was yesterday. He started classes at Chandler the year after it was integrated.

“There were some rocky days, but vast majority of the people were accepting,” says Hill, Jr.

His dad, Oliver Hill, Sr., played a key role in desegregating schools, arguing for equality in Prince Edward County. That case became one of five decided under Brown vs. Board of education.

Hill, Jr. says he’s disappointed to see that so much inequality still exists.

“What they thought was going to be accomplished in the ‘54 decision still hasn’t occurred yet and that’s true integration in schools,” says Hill, Jr.

Demographic data we obtained shows most schools in Henrico and Chesterfield have an overwhelming Black, White or Hispanic population, with most Richmond classrooms being black.

However, former State School Superintendent, Dr. Bill Bosher says it’s no longer about race, but something the courts can’t change, which are socioeconomic status and segregated neighborhoods.

“You can’t dictate where people choose to live or with whom they associate,” says Dr. Bosher.

A mixed school was key for one Richmond mom.

Sarah Gross tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, that’s why she and her husband chose to raise their kids in a section of the city with a diverse school.

“We felt the more they saw, the more comfortable that they became, the broader their experience, the more well-rounded they would become as adults,” says Gross.

Bosher tells, a number of programs have been implemented at various schools in the state to diversity schools and get students out of their zip code, but Bosher says it’s up to parents to make that decision.

22 comments

  • Stephanie

    I live in one of the lowest scoring districts in the state and my boyfriend’s son will be the last of our five to graduate this year from this system. What I have seen over the years seems to amount to voluntary segregation as much as anything else. I’m not even sure that people realize what they are doing, but I would notice it during staff meetings at work, where blacks outnumbered other races, (the area I live in is majority black). All the blacks always sat together and never asked other races of coworkers to join. Black kids in my district are bullied by other blacks when they do well in school. The bullies tell them they “are acting like white kids”. Since when did wanting to do well in school have a color basis? If a kid wants to be something other than a rapper or sports star, he is marginalized by his peers, and we all remember peer pressure is a hard thing to deal with as a kid.

    There is only so much whites can do to create opportunities for blacks to take advantage of. Succeeding in life requires hard work, no matter what color you are, and if you aren’t willing to do the work, you won’t succeed. That’s your own fault and nobody else’s. At some point, the black community is going to have to address its own problems and take care of them, which is exactly what Bill Cosby told the NAACP when he spoke at one of their national meetings several years back. People fought and died for this generation to have equal opportunity to achieve, blacks and whites both. If you don’t take advantage of their hard work, you have no one but yourself to blame.

  • Stephanie

    And before somebody calls me out on “institutional racism” and the like, let me just say that Life isn’t fair and nobody said it was going to be.Almost everybody has some type of problem to overcome to be successful at life, however they define that for themselves. I myself have had to overcome mountains of obstacles and still have not reached where I want to be, even though I am now middle-aged. But I keep clawing and scraping up the side of the mountain, because I have to, if I want to achieve my goals and dreams. That truth has no color.

  • manalishi

    Given the condition of the schools, dropout rate, controversies, and teachers waivers. Has anything really worked so far?

    Lets applaud all the youths that have succeeded despite the RPS and various court rulings.

    • Stephanie

      Agreed! Many youths, of all colors, manage to succeed in spite of serious obstacles, such as parents with addiction issues, abuse or neglect in the home, homelessness, or medical issues, among many others. I saw the headline last week of the kid that managed to be accepted by all 8 Ivy League schools and noticed that he was a person of color. (I did not have time to read the article and I don’t know if his race was listed, but he had dark skin.) What did he and/or his family do differently than others that led him to accomplish a feat that I’ve never heard of, from a kid of any color?

      I saw another article in the last couple of days regarding authors of books citing biological differences between the races as reasons for the high failure rate of races other than white (e.g. blacks have lower IQ’s, etc.). I have never believed any of that “stuff” (had to find a nice word so the post would be allowed), especially about IQ’s. I was tested at 7 and found to have a pretty high IQ. I might have had the “book-smarts” as a kid, but I was very naive and unknowing in many other areas of life, so I’ve never put much stock in such tests anyway. People get out of something what they put into it, and yes, this is the real world, and life happens, but that’s no excuse not to try.

  • Shelly

    While I agree with some of what was said here, I believe white people can never understand what it’s like being black so they can’t judge. Black people were delt a different set of cards than any other race. Excuse? no, just facts. Not saying that we can’t make it, but the road is totally different. You can’t speak on our journey and make it as cute and sweet as “work hard and fulfill your dreams”. There are a number of variables that are too much to talk about here. You just can’t speak on another culture’s struggle. Basically what I’m saying is, you can’t speak when you’re on the outside looking in. For instance, I grew up in the projects in Richmond, 1 of 4 kids to a single mother. I have 2 brothers and neither have ever been arrested or in jail/prison. All 4 of us graduated 4 year universities and my mother now owns her own home. However, I totally understand the ones that don’t make it out of those circumstances and either are killed, imprisoned or caught up in the cycle. On the other hand you would say if people don’t make it out of those circumstances its because they didnt want to or they didnt work hard enough. It’s not that black and white (no pun intended) but I dont expect you to understand because, again, you’re not black.

    • ROSS

      Hi Shelly .I applaud to your family successes, Did you know there are more whites on welfare, food stamps and living in public housing than blacks. It is up to any black child to set their goal and stay focused. And know there is more to life than just sports and rap. Unfortunately with children having children, that willing to achieve gets harder to accomplish

      • manalishi

        Please enlighten us on the source of the race based welfare statistics. The #’s are important here.

      • Shelly

        Thank you Ross…..White people act like they dont use welfare and most people would believe it because of how stereotypes are spread via the media (internet, social, tv, commercials, headlines, newspaper…which stories get ran and drilled and which ones are not reported or put to the back burner.)

    • Stephanie

      Shelley, I have heard this argument before, and I would like to ask you to consider something. I am in a wheelchair because of another person’s stupidity and selfishness 12 years ago. I deal with chronic pain on a daily basis and take a small pharmacy to manage my medical issues. Do you know what it’s like to not be able to enter a business because there is a step in front of it and no room for a ramp, since such things are not required by the ADA for older buildings that receive waivers as such? Or if I am able to enter the door, the aisles are spaced so close together to cram as much merchandise as possible into a finite area, that my wheelchair cannot fit down them, so it is impossible for me to shop the store anyway? I also cannot do things like go to the mall without assistance because my elbow cannot handle the repetitive motions involved in rolling myself around. And God help me when trying to find a disabled parking spot, as way too many selfish individuals who are not disabled park in these spaces because they are too lazy to walk from farther away.

      Do those things mean that it is impossible for you to have empathy for my position in society, or for the challenges that I have to deal with every day? Does it mean that it is impossible for you to see things from my perspective, to understand that I too suffer indignities every single day? I don’t believe so. I believe that all it takes is compassion and consideration to understand that everyone has issues that they have to deal with to “get somewhere” in life.

      (As far as the welfare stats, the stats you cite are correct. However, the rest of the story is this: as blacks make up about 13% of the population and whites make up about 72%, it works out that around 49% of blacks receive some type of welfare (this was accurate as of 2009. I have not checked for later statistics).)

      • Shelly

        I am not looking for empathy first of all. A handicap is not comparable to race relations. You have black and white people in wheel chairs. Population has nothing to do with it. It’s about who is using the system not about how many people use it out of how many people are within a race. White people pretend like black people are the only ones who use welfare. It’s not true, period…..no matter how much of what race takes up the population.

      • reeltime

        Thank you Stephanie for putting the numbers in the correct perspective. They are correct. It appears Shelly has a hard time with statistical math and unable to correlate facts to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Keep your head up and continue to hold your head in pride for others can only walk in shame. Their dues will be paid eventually.

    • B Addy

      Don’t need to be black Shelly. EVERY race has been enslaved and had adversity to overcome. Blacks seem to be the only ones who continue to use it as a crutch generation after generation.I appluad your families success and truly wish more blacks had the same drive and initiative.

    • Stephanie

      You missed the entire point of my post, and I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. The fact is that any person can pick something about themselves and say “Nobody else in the entire world could understand this unless they’ve been through it”. Have you ever had one of your children die? I have. Have you ever been molested and raped? I have. Have you ever dealt with a parent’s mental illness? I have. Have you ever been in an abusive marriage? I have. Do I feel that the rest of the world cannot possibly understand me unless they have been through one or all of these things? No, because I consider that type of thought pattern to be an excuse to think that I am somehow requiring of sympathy or pity or special treatment because of the events of my past. I can choose to be a victim of these things, and allow them to excuse me for not accomplishing my goals, or I can choose to be a survivor of these things and refuse to let them control how I view the world or where my life goes in the future. Being a victim means that you are letting the person/event that victimized you control your life. Being a survivor means that YOU control your life. I choose to be a survivor.

  • Becky

    LBJ’s 1960s The Great Society, War on Poverty, The New Deal,
    with sweeping reforms, and overlapping Government Programs
    at local, state, and federal levels have All apparently… Failed.
    Apparently there has been no progress, no reform, no changes,
    no help in all these years of trying at great tax payer expense.
    Now there is urgent need for Tax Exempt/Non Profits, coming
    out of the woodwork, at all Democratic orifices, to help, assist,
    supplement and to bolster all the existing Government Programs.
    They get tax advantages, taxes, and public donations to
    Subsidize Government through Government.
    Seems we are now falling backwards.
    No one has reaped any benefits and there is nothing to
    be grateful for at all. No Progress ever Noticed. More Failure.
    Now, too, there appears to be full scale media blitzkreit
    Propaganda Campaign underway to another war; more
    discontent, more division, more turmoil, chaos, and conflicts.
    It’s PC.

  • Shelly

    No, again, you have misunderstood. I’m not saying no one understand each others issues. I’m saying the African American situation is a unique culture that only those who are African American can understand. People across all races and ethnic groups can identify with the things you named but African Americans have been through slavery, injustice, unfair treatment, prejudice, a system created for them to fail, segregation, unfair education, unfair court trials, lynching, unfair housing, etc all because of skin color. So, no you missed the point and no, the world can’t identify with what I just stated. Si again, you are not black so don’t try to sugar coat, down play, or try to relate to what I just named. Am the things I just named are still effecting black people today regardless of whether you want to admit it or regardless of whether you can understand it(which is obvious that you can’t).

    • Stephanie

      No Shelley, I did not misunderstand. You are saying that blacks have had it worse than anyone else in the entire world because of many injustices committed by whites (and by other blacks) and nobody can possibly understand how much blacks are stepped on, spit on, oppressed, treated like dirt, etc., etc., etc. unless they themselves are black. That is exactly the problem with race relations today. 1) you think that nobody else could possibly understand what it’s like to be you because nobody else has ever had it as bad as you have; and 2) because nobody else has ever had it as bad as you have, certain things should be done to “level the playing field” so to speak. The thing that you don’t get is that anyone who wants to claim the title of “victim” for any reason whatsoever says exactly the same thing. Just take out the word “black” and insert any other word that you want to, and you have the same thing that people who want to remain victims say. It’s easier to remain a victim, because then it’s never your fault when you don’t get what you want or need. “If only this hadn’t happened to me, I would now be there instead of here.”

      It’s not just blacks that I see as “wishing to live in victimhood”, either. These people that go shoot up some place and then go to trial and say “I was an abused child” or “I have a mental illness” and expect that to be some kind of justification for why they did what they did. People on daytime talk shows like Springer make great “victims”, or all of these stupid reality shows that our airwaves have been overrun with. Sometimes, I think that most of our society looks for some way to be a victim so that they can take the easy way out and blame someone else for their failures in life. The biggest problem with that is this: if someone else is responsible for your failures, then someone else is responsible for your successes as well. I see a lot of people that need to suck it up and realize that Life isn’t fair and nobody promised it would be. This discussion just happens to be about black people and whether integration of the schools helped them or hurt them.

      The way I see it, you have it a helluva lot better in this country than those poor schoolgirls in Nigeria, or the women who keep getting gangraped in India or Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she defied the ban on girls going to school, but you still insist on saying “I am a victim because my culture was and is being victimized by racism”. Victims cannot move forward because they are constantly looking backward and cannot see the opportunities in front of them. That is the reason why I chose not to identify as a victim. I am an adult with free will, and the opinions to go along with that free will. If I allow my past to affect my present and my present to affect my future, than I am allowing those that tried to beat me down to win, and I refuse to allow that. That takes a lot of strength and courage, because it means that I am responsible for my failures and nobody else, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Perhaps you just aren’t that strong. If so, I’m sorry for that, because you are missing out on a helluva lot that life has to offer. Take care and best of luck in your future.

      • Laura

        Nowhere did I say black people should act as victims as they live their lives. I didn’t say we shouldn’t try our best to be ask that we can be. What I said is that if you are not black, don’t try to speak on black issues by saying get over it, just do a c and everything is fine. Just like I can’t tell those Nigerian girls about their situation, white people can’t tell me about mines. I am more than a conqueror regardless of my situation, not a victim but I am not oblivious to the fact that it is an everyday battle being black, having to constantly prove yourself, etc because of a skin color that you were born with. Your everyday existence revolves around that one thing. People can overcome being abused, but you can’t change your skin color. Again, you don’t know because you ate not black. So stop trying to make other issues equivalent to that of African Americans because it’s not that simple. God bless you as well.

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