School Desegregation

The Social Science Role
  • Harold B. Gerard
Part of the Perspectives in Social Psychology book series (PSPS)


My main credential for writing this article is that I spent some of the best years of my life studying what happened to children from the year before to five years after desegregation (Gerard & Miller, 1975). We have the dubious distinction of having collected more desegregation data than anyone since Coleman (Coleman, Campbell, Hobson, McPartland, Mood, Weinfield, & York, 1966). Coleman studied 600,000 children in all 50 states, whereas we studied 1,800 children in a single school district over a period of 6 years, collecting detailed data on each child from a number of perspectives. We had hoped that our data would still the critics by demonstrating that minority achievement, achievement-related attitudes, and self-esteem would improve from pre- to postdesegregation, as would school performance, with no adverse effects on white pupils. We had also hoped that interethnic attitudes would improve. This was the heart of the expectations in the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court Decision (see Stephan, 1978), and I fully expected to find confirming evidence.


Social Comparison Black Child Minority Child Supreme Court Decision School Desegregation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold B. Gerard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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