Sixty years ago, in May 1955, the United States Supreme Court handed down its school desegregation implementation order, widely known as Brown II. This followed the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision a year earlier. Brown II gave guidelines for how school desegregation should proceed. In 1954 and 1955, four school districts successfully desegregated in Arkansas. Charleston, in western Arkansas, had previously bused its African-American students to Fort Smith’s segregated Lincoln High School. The Charleston school board was inclined to obey the Brown decision to save money and as a legal obligation. On August 23, 1954, fourteen African-American students were admitted to the town’s formerly segregated elementary and high schools. Charleston became the first school district in the former Confederate states to integrate, although it consciously avoided any publicity in doing so. I’m John Kirk, of the UALR History Department, and this has been an Arkansas Moment.
Brown II- Charleston
By John Kirk • Feb 15, 2016