Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges

Sam Dillon, New York Times, November 5, 2011

When thousands of white students abandoned the Memphis schools 38 years ago rather than attend classes with blacks under a desegregation plan fueled by busing, Joseph A. Clayton went with them. He quit his job as a public school principal to head an all-white private school and later won election to the board of the mostly white suburban district next door.

Now, as the overwhelmingly black Memphis school district is being dissolved into the majority-white Shelby County schools, Mr. Clayton is on the new combined 23-member school board overseeing the marriage. And he warns that the pattern of white flight could repeat itself, with the suburban towns trying to secede and start their own districts.

“There’s the same element of fear,” said Mr. Clayton, 79. “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”

“As far as racial trust goes,” Mr. Clayton, who is white, added, “I don’t think we’ve improved much since the 1970s.”

The merger–a result of actions by the Memphis school board and City Council, a March referendum and a federal court order–is the largest school district consolidation in American history and poses huge logistical challenges. {snip}

{snip}

Federally ordered busing in 1973 provoked white flight, with about 40,000 of the system’s 71,000 white students abandoning the system in four years.

{snip}

Despite the current inequality, nobody expects the demographics of schools to change much, because most students in both districts are assigned to neighborhood schools and housing tends to be segregated.

{snip}

Mr. Clayton, who was the principal of two traditionally white Memphis high schools from 1964 to 1973, won election in 1998 to the Shelby County school board, where he and his colleagues were shocked when the Memphis board first voted for the merger.

“We all tried to figure out how to stop it,” he said.

They have not given up. The legislature passed a law in February that, as of September 2013, lifts a prohibition on the formation of autonomous school districts, and five of the six Shelby County suburbs have hired consultants to study the finances of breaking away.

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  • Bernie

    “There’s the same element of fear,” said Mr. Clayton, 79. “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”

    “As far as racial trust goes,” Mr. Clayton, who is white, added, “I don’t think we’ve improved much since the 1970s.”

    Wow – even a clear headed white Southern man is using PC-speak now. Blacks rob, rape and murder whites and other non-blacks. We don’t want our kids robbed, raped and murdered so we “oppressors” move when the poor, put upon blacks invade our schools and neighborhoods.

  • Dance

    Obviously hoping that white success and excellence will somehow dilute continued black failure and violence.

  • Question Diversity

    Related news from Memphis:

    http://goo.gl/EXar6

    Related news from Kansas City:

    http://goo.gl/7pt0s

  • Dan

    Memphis City Schools are an absolute mess. Desoto County, in North Mississippi, has built a number of schools during the past 5-8 years to accomodate folks moving from Memphis. Desoto schools are excellent schools, and yes, there will be white flight – no question about it. I don’t really know the status of the breakaway districts.

  • Anonymous

    “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”

    For some of us it is both, and always has been.

    Regardless, please keep fighting Mr. Clayton.

  • Anonymous

    They just keep forcing it. If we wanted to be around blacks, we never would have left in the first place.

  • sbuffalonative

    “There’s the same element of fear,”

    It’s not fear, it’s facts.

    Blacks drag down academic achievement. Fact not fear.

  • Futura

    I am from a school district where this exact thing happened. The county school district eventually broke up into “neighborhood schools.”

    http://theopeningeye.blogspot.com

  • Indianapolis

    • “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”

    The fear in the 70s was both academic and physical. It remains the same today.

    • It’s never been a race issue. Whites have never fled black schools because they bore an irrational dislike for dark skin tone.

    • White flight is the alternative to White fight. White people simply don’t have the courage and character of our ancestors.

  • Tom S.

    *Despite the current inequality, nobody expects the demographics of schools to change much, because most students in both districts are assigned to neighborhood schools and housing tends to be segregated.

    Oh really! Don’t be silly, I’m willing to bet some liberal judge will come along and rectify that! Bring on the buses!

  • ATBOTL

    If you actually look at thh statistics, the Memphis schools are almost all black while the “white” suburban schools have large and growing black minorities, plus Hispanics and Asians.

    Memphis is a good example of how reactionary conservatism fails to defend white interests. Whites are close to being ethnically cleansed from the whole metropolitan area.

  • Anonymous

    Think of all the delighted NYT staff who can be just like their hero journalists of the 1960s who ‘brought down’ the walls of segregation.

    This is a SWPL fantasy for a reporter, who likely is an advance degree radicalized Marxist.

  • Fritz

    The same fear exists, only now there is more to fear than 30 years ago. In the 70s Blacks were just as fearful as Whites because there was a real possiblity they might encounter White on Black violence. Blacks no longer have much to fear in that regard. Worse yet, for Whites, Blacks are now more brazen about hitting on White girls because they can throw that, “is it cuz I’m Black?” line at them and unlike 30 years ago, no White girl wants to be thought of as racist so….. Then there’s the “racial gap” in grades that inevitably comes with integrated schools. No Whites in their right minds wants to deal with that if they can avoid it. And then there’s the gangs and crime and, well, I could go on and on. I’m not sure what Mr Clayton is refering to when he says we haven’t improved much. After 30 years of hand-outs, set-asides, hate crime laws and all the rest, it is Blacks who haven’t improved much. Anything they dominate, they destroy.

  • J.P.

    What is not being said is that the black ran Memphis district through coruption and incompetence administered the decline of their school system.

    The merger enables the corupt incompetent blacks to not only keep their jobs but to be put in charge of the merged district !

  • Anonymous

    Shelby County can fight the Memphis school board, but it cannot fight the Federal judges. More than any other anti White group, more than academia, the media, the brown and black non profits and the billion dollar foundations that fund them, the judges are the most responsible for the destruction of White Americans.

    I have a dream, I dream that one day every judge in this country is sent to an all black Job Corps camp and compelled to live and teach there for the rest of his or her life.

    English common law. The worst legal system ever devised. At least kings and dictators have to implement their decisions and live with the consequences. At least kings and dictators want to make their countries strong, not destroy them as American judges have done since 1956.

  • Anonymous

    My son actually liked blacks in middle school and the first 3 years of high school. He was a basketball player.

    Then we were transferred to another city. We rented in an all White neighborhood. His high school was 2 blocks away. It was about 1/3 black. After the first week he was a typical AmRener about race.

    How many billions have Whites spent in the last 70 years on commuting alone because we flee and flee again from blacks? How much money spent on moving expenses?

  • Anonymous

    If they do merge, you can bet there will be another judicial order that all the administrators be black as well. Anyone like Bon who has ever worked under a black school administrator knows how that is.

    The black teachers will get to teach the well behaved intelligent Whites. The White teachers will teach the blacks. The White teachers will have to waste endless Saturdays being harangued about evil Whites.

  • margaret

    “This is a SWPL fantasy for a reporter, who likely is an advance degree radicalized Marxist.”

    I keep seeing SWPL. What does it mean? Satanic White Pustulent Liberal?

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    First they came for white schools, next they came for white schools, then they came for white schools.

    Whites will not be able to forever flee and then flee again and then flee once more the pursuing armies of the anti-Whites whose ultimate goal is White Genocide.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White

  • rockman

    Guess who is coming to dinner. Stop running and fight for once.

  • Anonymous

    “There’s the same element of fear,” said Mr. Clayton, 79. “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools”

    Bull. The fear isnt just about academic decline, its about the destruction of entire communities. Memphis whites are particulary suspicious of blacks as any effort spearheaded by black politicians or beaurecrats are usually attempts to get money or something else out of them. The suburbs that Shelby county schools serves were created in the seventies due to white flight. The current centers of the white population around memphis where small country towns miles outside the city in the sixties. When busing began whites fled, and for good reason. For instance, my own mother was pushed down a stairwell by one of the new “students”.

    If for some reason, blacks are again brought in to the county schools through busing or redistricting whites will have to pack up there lives and move again, as it is impossible to maintain a safe and civil atmosphere for education anywhere they have large

    numbers. With the memphis city school people able to get power over the county schools whose to say what will happen. The schools that were in excellent neighborhoods in the seventies are now surrounded by ghetto. The last time my dad took me to see his old highschool he asked me what the large metal frames behind the doors were. I said “Dad, those are metal detectors.”

  • ex-Indianapolis

    Indianapolis wrote: “White flight is the alternative to White fight. White people simply don’t have the courage and character of our ancestors.”

    There is truth in that statement, however, our ancestors didn’t have a Judge Dillin or countless other judges who tried to square the circle and make the white taxpayers shell out for it. Fortunately, his successors cannot order busing up to Hamilton or Boone Counties. I have had the occasion to set foot inside of a couple of Indianapolis Public Schools and my heart breaks for the white kids who are stuck in these 8 hour a day holding pens. My kids will NEVER attend an IPS school. Even the township schools inside of Indianapolis are a mess.

    Joseph Stalin once said “How much does the state weigh?” It weighs enough that Indianapolis is called the doughnut city for a reason. Avon, Greenwood, Greenfield, and Carmel were blips on the map in the 1960’s. A few things work in the favor of those who live in surrounding counties. The public transportation system is horrible. Indianapolis is not densely populated. Once you get a little ways out of town, there is a LOT of open farmland.

    Mississippi should milk this flight for all that it is worth.

  • mark

    Repeat after me: you will enjoy associating with blacks, you will enjoy associating with blacks, you will enjoy associating with blacks………..

  • Anonymous

    There is an excellent article in the latest edition of “The New American” entitled, “Education’s Armageddon”.

    I recommend AmRen readers find and read this article, because it shows, once again, who is behind our demise as a Nation, which begins in the Classroom.

    You can also find this at http://www.thenewamerican.com .

  • Anonymous

    what I am wondering, are there really large numbers worried about this, or just a few Amreners. I seem to meet only anti racists.

    Well, the people there could stop sending their kids to school en masse. You can always claim you are homeschooling. But a lot of white students are just a few degrees away from acting like blacks, so that won’t work either. Rock and hard place folks. Just hand over your kids, especially the girls. Do the kids mind? I seem to remember that the white girls at the DODEA schools we were working at, would fawn all over the dumbest and ugliest blacks. It is so cool.

  • Tnmovingman

    Murderville, not Memphis is the correct description of that town. I grew up there, was taken out of the public system when busing started in 3rd grade and was fortunately put in Catholic schools.

    Now as a single full-time Dad of two great kids, I refuged out of Murderville just over 2 years ago to a gated community in Nashville/Forest Hills (96.6% white).

    You cannot cut the atmosphere of Black hatred of Whites in Murderville without a chain saw. I urge all people to avoid Murderville as if it were the plague. Many many of us sought asylum in the Nashville area – country music fence seems to be holding fairly well for now.

    Unfortunately Music City is trying the same.

    http://goo.gl/EmI5x

    If the apologists get their way in Nashville, guess we’ll eventually have to move to Appalachia in E.TN. It’s sad…Memphis was a great American town…now destroyed.

  • Anonymous

    1973…wasn’t Nixon President at that time? So much for Republicans being on our side.

  • Anonymous

    @ Margaret, SWPL= Stuff White People Like – google it, it’s a sarcastic site about white liberals, which became something of an internet phenomenon.

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    25 — Anonymous wrote at 11:17 AM on November 10:

    “I seem to meet only anti racists.”

    They say they’re anti-racists, but what they are is anti-White.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White

    “a lot of white students are just a few degrees away from acting like blacks”

    If you stick your foot in mud, the mud doesn’t become “footy.”

    Integration isn’t about uplifting blacks, it’s about White Genocide.

    Flooding White countries (and only White countries) with masses of non-whites is not about lifting up non-whites, it’s about White Genocide.

    Anti-Whites achieved both of those monumental anti-White assaults on the White race without Whites ever being allowed to vote on either of them!

    Anti-Whites demand our schools, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our countries, and our minds.

    Anti-Whites demand that all of our institutions and all of our thoughts serve White Genocide.

    Can you think of a single program of the anti-Whites that does NOT serve White Genocide?

  • Mr. Ed

    25 — Anonymous wrote at 11:17 AM on November 10:

    “But a lot of white students are just a few degrees away from acting like blacks, so that won’t work either. Rock and hard place folks. Just hand over your kids, especially the girls. Do the kids mind? I seem to remember that the white girls at the DODEA schools we were working at, would fawn all over the dumbest and ugliest blacks.”

    I can attest to the truth of the above statement as I was an 8th grade math teacher in a 95% white school last year. The white students behaved like black students – loud, stupid, lazy, and vulgar. They call each other the n-word as a term of endearment, and all the girls are hoping for a black boyfriend. Rap is the only music played on their nasty iPods, and many are working 4 or 5 years below grade level and they laugh about it. They they brag about doing drugs every weekend, sometimes provided by their parents. Send your students to private schools or home school them if you care about them.

  • Sincerely Concerned

    About a year ago I watched a television program that I think was called “Gangland” on The History Channel or A&E or TruTV. Whatever, the program was about gangs in Memphis. I was shocked to learn that it’s one of the deadliest cities in the United States.

    The program revealed the inner workings of the Crips and the Bloods, who have clashed in what is nearly the dead-center of the continent, and whose traditional members and leaders are originally from New York/east coast and Los Angeles/west coast. Interviewing former and current gang members in silhouette, the program showed that they found Memphis to be ripe for corruption. They recruited additional membership from the locals then sought and won an overthrow of the city. I watched, slack-jawed, while the cameras scanned abandoned, trashed and vandalized streets that I used to enjoy visiting (I never lived there). Now, crime is so rampant that the police cannot keep up.

    Since watching this program, I read up a bit on Memphis and learned that white-flight is near Detroit levels. And it dawned on me how sick it is that city after city has fallen to the evils of “diversity” through bussing, Section 8, and so many other government programs that were supposedly originally designed to help people. This social engineering has caused nearly every major American city to fail and this grand experiment MUST end. I’d say here what I usually say and it is that decent people of all colors must do what they can to win back their cities, but if even the police can’t fight the Crips and the Bloods, who can? Good people could vote corruption out and someone like Guiliani in but there aren’t enough of them left in Memphis to make it happen. It’s beyond sad.

  • Marc B

    If the surrounding cities of Germantown, Bartlett, and Collierville are able to keep their schools sovereign from the merged Shelby County system, the county may be have another 50 years or so of livability. If Shelby County uses legal maneuvers to force them into the fold, the entire county will go to pot in the next decade just through attrition (young whites not buying homes or living in those cities).

    There are lots of students who do not live in those three incorporated districts being bussed into them from other parts of the county and Memphis (Germantown High School is around 60% black while Germantown has a 2.33% black population), so I wonder if these kids bussed in from the county and the city will have to go to a neighborhood county school or if they’ll still be transported to a non-district school.

    If whites leave the county en mass, municipal government (like they created in Nashville) will force a multi-county government so that a broke Memphis can extract the earnings of whites in other counties to subsidize it’s continued slide into becoming the Detroit of the South. You better move into another state or several counties over if you’re not planning to stand up and fight for the last few livable square miles of Shelby county.

    BTW, the county resident were blatantly disenfranchised by not allowed to vote yea or nay on the school merger. There have been several attempts to merge county and city government, and it’s always been voted down by county residents.

  • Whirlwinder

    I remember when ML King was killed in Memphis. I was at work in South Memphis and we got the call to shut down the operation and get out of town. As we were leaving, I saw 6 police cars patroling the area with their lights off. This was 9:00PM. Woke up the next morning to attend school and found that spring break had been moved up a week saving the University from being burned down, probably. A next door neighbor fireman was coming in from a night of fighting fires that night and while we did not read about it in the liberal newspapers, he told us that the blacks tried to burn down Memphis that night.

    At that time in the middle sixties, there were white enclaves with names like White Station, White Haven and Germantown. Blacks no more want integration than Whites do but the liberals continue to press this issue. Memphis, back then, was a somewhat liveable town but now I would not venture near the place. Just read an article about Birmingham being a black enclave after white flight, filing bankruptcy. Memphis cannot be far behind. What a sad spectacle

  • Anonymous

    The feds will never allow the reversal of the merger. They will bankrupt you, withhold federal funds, etc. Someday maybe the military will be sent in again. They will never allow whites to be left alone, to live in peace. And that includes most Republican politicians.

  • Jack in Chicago

    Whirlwinder wrote at 6:09 PM on November 10:

    “Blacks no more want integration than Whites do but the liberals continue to press this issue.”

    Jack responds:

    Blacks want what we have – it’s not called “integration” anymore it’s just endless numbers of Black people desiring to go where things are better – where schools are newer, cleaner – housing, newer and cleaner. Blacks don’t want to stay in Haiti, Zimbabwe, East St. Louis or now almost all Black Memphis. Stop trying to appease Blacks, same with NW Muslims. Stop pretending that all Blacks or Muslims want is to be left alone in their own communities, their own countries. Blacks and NW Muslims will always follow us, stalk us, invade us, they will always go for our women.

    And remember:

    What’s theirs is theirs, what’s ours needs to become multi cultural, until it becomes theirs.