Resource: The Detroit School Busing Case: Milliken v. Bradley and the Controversy over Desegregation

By: Deeann Grove

May 1, 2012

History of Education Quarterly

While much remains to be understood about the desegregation of schools in the South, scholars are increasingly, and rightfully so, turning their attention to the desegregation and integration of northern schools. Joyce A. Baugh's decision to pursue this emerging line of inquiry comes from her lived experience as a member of the first generation of Black students to desegregate elementary schools in Charleston, South Carolina, and, some years later, from her surprise, while a Kent State University graduate student, at learning of persistent racial segregation in northern K-12 public schools. Baugh's experience as a political science professor at Central Michigan University beginning in the late 1980s caused her to further question race relations in northern schools. She found that while her students had at least a passing familiarity with school desegregation in the South, few knew anything about such efforts in the North. She writes, "This was particularly striking, since so many of them came from the Detroit metropolitan area" in which "most attended public schools that were overwhelming white or black" (p. xi). Her decision to focus on the Detroit school desegregation case, Milliken v. Bradley (1974), reflects her desire to understand the events that led her students, and those in other northern metropolitan areas, to attend segregated public schools.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/23251477?seq=1