I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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How Separate But Equal Worked– Some photos from Holly Springs

Ten years or so ago, someone at the Holly Springs school was cleaning a store-room and discovered a display of photographs of the schools in the system in October of 1955. These pictures now hang in the front part of the central offices of the school district.

That was five months after Brown II, the decision about how the decision in Brown I— that separate but equal was unconstitutional– was to be enforced. The court concluded that it was to be enforced with due deliberate speed.

Meanwhile, in Holly Springs, someone photographed each school in the system, and illustrated as clearly as possible just how well separate-but-equal had worked.

First there was Holly High, the white school (and a school that sufficed for everyone for another four decades until the first post-desegregation bond issue passed in Holly Springs about 2000).

Then, there is the Rosenwald School. In the first half of the 20th Century, the Rosenwald fund, established by one of the founders of Sears Roebuck financed school construction of Black schools in the south. These schools did not depend on state funds, and took the local districts off the hook– too a degree– in funding separate-but-equal.

But then that one town, Rosenwald school, the real impact of Jim Crow becomes visible in one-room school houses that were part of the city school district. First, Strawberry school.

Then Wallace school

Finally, the Beverly school.

Disclosure — I have represented this district since the early 90s.


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