On 50th anniversary of Central High integration, Little Rock can't escape race
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —- Fifty years after the epic desegregation struggle at Central High School, the school district here is still riven by racial conflict, casting a pall on this year’s ambitious commemorative efforts.
In the latest clash, white parents pack school board meetings to support the embattled superintendent, Roy Brooks, who is black. The blacks among the school board members look on grimly, determined to use their new majority to oust him. Whites insist that test scores and enrollment have improved under the brusque, hard-charging Mr. Brooks; blacks on the board are furious that he has cut the number of office and other non-teaching jobs and closed some schools.
The fight is all the more disturbing to some here because it erupted just as a federal judge declared Little Rock’s schools finally desegregated, 50 years after a jeering white mob massed outside Central High to turn back integration.
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