Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on August 16, 1970 · Page 30
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August 16, 1970

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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 30

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Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 16, 1970
Page:
Page 30
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Page 30 article text (OCR)

ALL EDITIONS 18-A The Arizona Republic Phoenix, SOT., Asf. 11,101 Year of decision ahead for South School integration faces its most critical test News comment By M J. WILSON Newsweek Feature Service "All deliberate speed." Remember the phrase? It was uttered 16 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was meant to signal the pite at which school desegregation was to proceed in the South. Today "a 11 deliberate speed" stands as a kind of mixed monument to an innocence that assumed that radical social change could simply be mandated — and to defiance. The bitter struggle toward desegregation has hardly been marked by speed, deliberate or not, and even now — when complete desegregation is clearly on the Southern horizon — die-hard resistence, clever evasion and outright despair (among blacks and whites) still mar the social landscape. Yet, to hear the administration tell the tale, effective and total school desegregation is almost as near as tomorrow. "After the 1970-71 school year," Atty. Gen. John Mitchell said recently, "I would think that not only will the school districts in the South have converted from the dual to the unitary system, but most of the irritants that were brought about by these conversions will be behind us, and desegregation will be accepted as a fact of life." Well, yes and no. There is , certainly massive evidence of progress, and the administration seems to have stopped the waffling that characterized its attempt to please southern conservatives with- o u t completely alienating northern moderates. Fifty lawsuits were lodged not long ago against reluctant southern school districts; federal monitors have been sent into the South to gauge progress; and Washington has promised to withdraw tax exemptions from segregated private schools — a whole new rash of which has sprung up this spring and summer. The administration predicts that this fall 90 per cent of southern black students will attend desegrated schools. In the past two years, Mississippi has gone from being the most to the least segregated state in the deep South, and officials who once might have urged reactionafy violence are greeting the imminence of complete desegregation with a kind of wry resignation. But those examples, significant as they are, cannot mask the fact that if John Mitchell really believes the "irritants" of desegregation are all but gone, he is sadly mistaken. Poor whites, who live in a kind of ghetto world of their own and who clearly can't afford to send their children to private schools, find that their kids are the first to be placed in black schools and the most likely to be bused the farthest. Black parents, who once were primarily concerned with the low quality of their children's education, now live in terror of the violence that may surround their kids in integrated schools. In their desperation, the radical white resisters have banded together to start flyby-night segregated private schools. These range from one-room, one-teacher hovels to expansive quarters provided by fraternal organizations like the Elks. An estimated 400,000 youngsters will attend "segregation academies" this fall — and will receive an education measurably worse than that offered in the previously all-white public schools. But d e f 1 a n c e has many faces, and there is evidence that some schools, while paying lip-service to the federal government, have simply continued in their own, traditionally segregated way. A Senate committee on equal educational opportunity has been told of instances of completelysegregated schools within theoretically desegregated districts, of completely segregated classes within theoretically desegregated schools, and even of classrooms being broken into white and black seating plans. No one of responsibility will predict how the South, in general, will react when schools open next month. There will certainly be some defiance, perhaps even some violence. Many districts will adjust calmly, if not happily. One thing Is certain: This will be a critical year for public education in the South. How the people react will determine how the government reacts. And how the government reacts will determine the future of southern education for years to come. 1 ^p * 300SPORTCOATS Rtg. $59 to $75 Now *33 .„,, '44 WnMffV ff9M 949 DM* MlM Itl ••nk Ctrds W.lcom* MARX for MEN LOS ARCOS MALL MJ . AT TM€ FOUNTAIN SCOTTSDALK AT McDOWRLL KM. Do You Know?? YOU CAN BUY THIS NEW HAMMOND ORGAN *555 FOR ONLY Ittlvdw Inch, Fn* Utson, Music, Dtlivwy Md 1 Year Warrants Just Because HAMMOND is the Known Quality Leader In Organs Doesn't Mean You Pay More. In Fact, You Get More Quality, More Features, More Value From HAMMOND. 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