It Takes a Village
Chapter 5 examines key actors who contributed to the goal of desegregating St. Louis schools and looks at the gendered ways that power was exerted in the desegregation fight. Two of the key actors profiled in this chapter are women whose voices have been missing from the literature regarding school desegregation. Key actors include plaintiff Minnie Liddell, Head of the Voluntary Coordinating Council Susan Uchitelle, District Court Judge James Meredith, and Circuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney. Each played a critical role in helping to implement school desegregation in St. Louis. This chapter offers a brief explanation of how St. Louis desegregation unfolded compared to Chicago to show the unique nature of St. Louis’ process for desegregating schools. Powerful political bosses prevented meaningful desegregation in Chicago, while activist judges wielded power in St. Louis and forced school officials to create effective desegregation programs.
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