About

This website exists to educate various audiences about the existence, historic context, and significance of equalization era schools (schools built to avoid racial integration of education in the 1950s and 1960s) in Tennessee. As a preservationist and historian, I believe these schools and their significance are often overlooked, partially because 1) equalization era schools have just relatively recently passed the “50 year” rule to be considered “historic” by many; 2) the existence of school buildings from this era are stark, and potentially embarrassing, reminders of the lengths to which segregationists used public funds to defy law in the United States’ long and ongoing struggle to realize racial equality; and, 3) the buildings themselves are not “high style” or overtly attractive, and are often embedded within already marginalized landscapes.

Much of this work was inspired by Rebekah Dobrasko’s work on Equalization Schools in South Carolina, 1951-1960, though through my own research I have extended this scope for Tennessee through the late 1960s. As you peruse the site, keep in mind this is a constant work in progress as I conduct fieldwork to locate the schools throughout the state, and archival research to learn more about their origins.

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