Stark evidence that private/charter schools are bringing back segregation

The numbers don't lie:

In 1988, enrollment figures for Wilson County Schools showed 52 percent non-white students and 48 percent white. Today, a breakdown of Wilson County Schools’ 11,164 students shows the student population is 44 percent black, 30 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent Asian and 4.6 percent other race.

According to PrivateSchoolReview.com, Wilson area private schools have a lower percentage of students of color. The site notes that Greenfield School has 11 percent students of color, Community Christian School has 17 percent students of color, Wilson Christian Academy has 5 percent students of color and Garnett Christian Academy has 11 percent students of color.

Bolding mine, because a shift of that magnitude over a thirty year period doesn't happen by accident. That's what providing "choice" to parents will accomplish; the choice to avoid black people. Let's roll back the clock a little bit to see why this is so important in Wilson County:

Whitley’s grandfather, J. Norwood Whitley Sr., who died in 1975, was chairman of the Wilson County Board of Education for eight years when the county was struggling with the school integration process.

“Because we were in favor of integration, some people actually put a burning cross at my grandfather’s house, and they actually put another one on the farm where my dad lived,” Whitley said Thursday. “That was kind of scary. We were kids, and we were out in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t expect any hate crime like that against us just because we were in favor of integration.”

Whitley was about 6 years old when the segregationists made their cross-burning demonstration in the 1960s.

“It was scary enough that it still sticks in my mind,” Whitley said. “It still is in my mind, seeing my dad really scared, because they were doing things to discourage us, and he started to buy up lots of ammo because we were on a farm in the middle of nowhere.”

It wasn't just "some people," it was the Ku Klux Klan. While I admire both Norwood and his grandfather for being on the right side of this issue, failing to mention the KKK (it's nowhere else in the article, either) is somewhere between trying to whitewash history and fear of waking the racist beast. Keep in mind: The Klan was particularly interested in this county because of the high percentage of African-Americans. Whites only had (and still have) a slim majority, and that frightened those hood-wearing bastards. So much so that simply painting a church almost caused a race riot:

“The first volley between local authorities and activists in Wilson in the summer of 1964 gave change agents the opportunity to continue their pursuit of greater freedom. In the early part of June, James Costen, the young pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, a small church located in Elm City, invited an interracial group of northern students from New York and Pennsylvania to Wilson to paint the outside of the church. Costen and his parishioners were African American. Upon arriving in the small town north of Wilson, the group of students was approached by Robert Jones, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. In a not-so-veiled threat, Jones informed the students that he could not guarantee their safety if they remained in town and attempted to paint the church alongside Negro volunteers. The northern volunteers promptly packed up and returned home.

“Events in Elm City quickly took a turn toward the bizarre. On the evening of July 9, Costen received a phone call from Jones, who informed him that he had gathered approximately two hundred fifty Klan members from Wilson and Nash Counties in front of the town hall. Then, Jones offered the services of his crew to paint the church. Jones’ assortment of handymen included thirty-five expert painters equipped with forty floodlights and forty gallons of paint. They would work all night, said Jones, and finish by noon the next day. Undoubtedly flustered by the Grand Dragon’s offer to paint the rural black church, Costen demurred, maintaining that the decision to paint the church now rested in the hands of his superiors. Jones accused the pastor of “not wanting to get the church painted, but of desiring to make a racial issue by bringing in outsiders.” Jones then informed Costen that an “integrated brush” would not touch the walls of the church, and that another attempt toward that end could get somebody killed. When Mayor George Tyson found out about the presence of hundreds of Klansmen armed with paintbrushes and paint in his city, he called the sheriff’s office in Wilson. The sheriff’s office then notified the mayor that Governor Terry Sanford had just mobilized the state highway patrol. Authorities broke up the assembly around eleven that evening. “I feel safe in saying,” Costen later told a reporter, “at this point we will refuse their help.””

Those 250-odd Klansmen were not recruited from multiple states, or even the whole of North Carolina. They were mostly from two counties (Wilson & Nash). And no doubt thousands more of the local white citizenry supported them for doing that. Might have been over fifty years ago, but that level of fear and racism takes more time than that to dissipate.

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