Struggle for equality: experiences of African American public school principals during desegregation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anessa Madeleine Burgman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathleen Casey

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to conduct research on the impact of desegregation, under the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Court case decision, on African American principals. My focus was to explore the life of African American principals who served during the desegregation of Greensboro Public Schools in Greensboro, North Carolina. Very little research has been done on the effects of school desegregation on African American principals. Statistics do show that most African American school administrators lost their jobs or were demoted when public schools desegregated, but there are few accounts of their actual experiences. Narrative research was used to collect and study the lives of African American principals that worked during desegregation. Three school leaders were interviewed and their stories were shared with historical context. The research questions for this study were: (a) How do African American principals describe their experiences during desegregation? and (b)What leadership qualities and traits appear in the life stories of these African American principals? The lives of these three African American principals were compared and evaluated on the characteristics of effective school leaders according to two educational theorists. Several themes emerge from the narratives of these three men. First, all three leaders were highly respected members of the black and white community. They were able to bring students, parents and school staff members together in a very tense situation. Second, there is a clear focus on how dedicated these men were to their work. They seldom mentioned family life. Finally, each principal has a different account of desegregation, but they were all positive. They all spoke about a relatively smooth transition into school integration. All of these points will be addressed in the study.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Desegregation, Educational Leadership, Excellence in Leadership, School Principals, Segregation
School integration
African American school principals

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