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Desegregation Pioneers

Delois Huntley leaves for school on the first day of desegregation, 1957
Event Type: 
Modern Era Begins 1946-1959

Desegregation Pioneers

On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court rules in Brown vs. Board of Education that segregated schools for black and white students are unconstitutional. The ruling calls for the integration of the school systems. Many of the white residents of Charlotte, like those in cities across the country, resist.

On September 4, 1957, four courageous young people change Charlotte forever when they become the first black students to enroll in public schools that were previously all white. Reactions from other students are mixed. Some simply avoid the black classmates, while others taunt and call them names.

Each of these students - Dorothy Counts, Delois Huntley, Gus Roberts, Girvaud Roberts - breaks the “color barrier” and paves the way for the educational reform that will take place in the 1960s and 1970s.