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The brave girls who integrated American schools

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Roughly Speaking episode 418:

Long before the 1954 Supreme Court case that found "separate but equal" unconstitutional, black parents across the country tried to enroll their children in all-white public schools. In researching girlhood and race in the decades before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, historian Rachel Devlin discovered numerous stories about grassroots efforts to desegregate schools in the South, Midwest and in the District of Columbia. In most cases, the children who crossed the color line for the first time were girls or young women. In this episode of Roughly Speaking, Devlin talks about the brave girls who were in the vanguard of school integration after World War II. Devlin is an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University and author of, "A Girl Stands At The Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools," published earlier this year by Basic Books.

Image: AP Photo/Norman Rockwell Estate Licensing Company via the Corcoran Gallery

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