Managing School Integration and White Flight: The Debate over Chicago’s Future in the 1960s

Authors
Tracy Steffes
Year of publication
2015
Publication
Journal of Urban History
Volume/Issue
42(4)
Pages
709-32

This article explores the policy conversation and efforts around school integration in Chicago during the 1960s. It analyzes how a conversation that originated in demands for equality for black students was transformed into one about keeping whites in the city and analyzes the consequences of this shift. Worried that integration might produce more segregation as whites fled, the school board responded to the advice of experts and pleas of some white liberals to manage and stabilize integration in racially changing neighborhoods. Civil rights groups tried to keep educational equity for black students forefront in these discussions of integration, but the shift to managed integration put whites’ interests and needs first and stripped the discussion of integration of much of its structural critique. Yet managed integration did not work, undermining support for integration altogether and reinforcing fears and assumptions about the inevitability and undesirability of racial change.

Suggested Citation:

Steffes, T. (2015). Managing School Integration and White Flight: The Debate over Chicago’s Future in the 1960s. Journal of Urban History, 42(4), 709-32