Civil Rights and Educational Equity in the U.S.

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At a Glance

  • Professor David Cunningham
  • Summer 2014, 10 weeks, June 2 - August 8, 2014
  • 12 credits
  • Refer to "Quick Links" in the right sidebar for more information

This hands-on and community-engaged JBS program will allow students to build on and extend Brandeis’ distinguished history of involvement with the Civil Rights Movement and related campaigns associated with inequities in public schooling. Students will spend time in both Massachusetts and Mississippi, working in conjunction with the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University to engage in a national conversation assessing the state of school desegregation.

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court decision, the 50th anniversaries of Mississippi Freedom Summer and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 40th anniversary of widespread resistance to the implementation of busing in Boston. Despite the attention that these milestones will elicit, there remains much we don’t understand about the contours and dynamics of school desegregation, as well as the enduring impact of related policies on educational opportunities. This JBS provides a unique opportunity to work within communities in New England and in the Deep South, applying cutting-edge research techniques to gather and analyze primary data to examine trajectories and legacies of school desegregation policy in the U.S.

To engage with these issues, students will work in partnership with related grassroots campaigns associated with the Union of Minority Neighborhoods’ Boston Bus Desegregation Project and the youth-led Freedom School initiative sponsored by the University of Mississippi’s William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, dividing their time between classroom-based work and field research tied to specific school districts in both states. Working collaboratively with each other and with local people, participants will have the unique opportunity to apply social scientific frameworks to produce original knowledge about social movements, education policy, municipal politics, and the reproduction of racial inequity. In turn, these research products will contribute to a broader educational justice movement.

The intended target audience for this JBS is broad, and we welcome applications from students across the disciplines at all levels with an interest in engaging in the community as part of their academic work. Those concentrating in Social Justice & Social Policy (SJSP), Sociology, Education, History, Politics, Anthropology, African and Afro-American Studies (AAAS), or Legal Studies may have particular interest. 

Courses:
SOC 156aj: Social Change in American Communities
SOC 104aj: Sociology of Education
SOC 97bj: Group Readings and Research