When she heard the Evans High student say, "We're not bad kids," it sounded to Gayle Pritchett Danner like an echo from her own childhood.

Back then, in 1970, it was Jones High students reacting to white teachers who were forced to transfer to their black high school. Today, it's the black students at Evans reacting to opponents of their school's proposed move to a site near Ocoee.

"It's the same thing repeating itself," said Danner, 53, one of the 10 children on the 1962 lawsuit to desegregate Orange County public schools.

In the 46 years since the eight black families sued to integrate the schools, so much has changed, so much is the same. The dual school systems of black and white have been dismantled. Today, 32 percent of the district's students are white, 27 percent black, 31 percent Hispanic.

But opposition to moving predominantly black Evans High School to a predominantly white area sounds no different to some than the opposition to black students attending a white school.

"It's race at the core of it," said Rev. Randolph Bracy, president of the Orange County branch of the NAACP. "Integration has gone a long ways to bring us to where we are today, but we have still not come to be a colorblind society."

The difference between 1962 and 2008 is traceable in the lives, and perspectives, of the eight adults and their 10 children who filed the lawsuit.

For Emma Gaines Little, the transformation that began with school desegregation was a triumph from the days when a black adult dared not knock on the front door of a white person's house.

"It was a bad fight, but what we did, we should be joyous. I'm proud of it," said Little, 87.

Gayle Danner's mother, Altamese Pritchett, sees it less as a triumph than a betrayal. The elimination of segregated school systems resulted in the closing of black schools, the transfer of black teachers and the exodus of middle-class families from black neighborhoods.

"We didn't sue for them to close the schools," said Pritchett, 82. "We wanted integration -- period. They turned what we wanted around and started closing schools in our area."

Pritchett's opinion is shared by her daughter, who sees the end result of integration as a dismantling of the black community.

"Was it worth it? Not for me. We lost community," said Danner. "Segregation had to end. But the decline of the community didn't have to come with it."

Reflected in the children of the lawsuit is a growing feeling among some blacks that integration at any cost is no longer worth the price. To them, all-black schools are not all bad, nor are all-black neighborhoods less desirable than integrated ones.

"I'm not sure what we did was the right thing. My father is probably rolling over in his grave to hear that," said Evelyn Ellis Snipes, 58, daughter of John P. Ellis. "I am a proponent of neighborhood schools. I'm as opposed to school busing as my father was in favor of it."


'Integration exhaustion'

After decades of trying to assimilate with whites, many blacks feel "integration exhaustion." Studies show blacks are increasingly reluctant to move into white neighborhoods and are less willing than past generations to be integration pioneers.

America seems to be retreating from integration at the same time the nation is becoming more diverse. Among educators in particular, there is growing concern that the country is resegregating into black neighborhoods, white neighborhoods, Hispanic neighborhoods, Asian neighborhoods. That change is reflected in the schools.

The peak of school integration was 1988, when 43 percent of black students in the South attended white schools. Today, less than 31 percent do. The U.S. Supreme Court, which initiated school integration in 1954, has been ruling since 1991 that federal courts have no business in local schools and that race should not be a factor in pupil placement.