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Newton County School Integration

Newton County Moments In Time

Newton County Schools Integrated- September 3, 1970

All the kids in Newton County have been back in school for about a month now.  But one of the most momentous things to happen with the Newton County School System began in 1954 when the integration of our “separate but equal” system started with the United States Supreme Court case Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

The Court was unanimous in their decision that racial segregation in public schools was a Classmatesviolation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  And though in Supreme Court cases,only the parties to the suit are bound by the decision, there is usually voluntary compliance in cases involving constitutional law.  But with Brown, there was very little compliance.After ten years, very few schools had ben integrated, and only four school districts out of Georgia’s 197 were desegregated.  But the Civil Rights act of 1964 was aimed at speeding things up, and 1970 was the federal target date for integration in the schools.

In Newton County, to effect integration, there was to be one high school, Newton County High, with 10th through 12th grades.  R.L. Cousins High School, a black school with grades 1 through 12, became a junior high, with 8th and 9th grades, while the elementary schools were to have grades one through seven.  Each school would have two principals – one black and one white.  Teaching staffs were also fully integrated.

Community leaders, both black and white, worked together to make integration a reality without disrupting the school programs.  And on the first day of school as an integrated system, superintendent Whit Richardson said, “All of us are extremely pleased with the smoothness with which our transition to a unitary school system has taken place.”  That was September 3, 1970.  Today… a Newton County Moment In Time.


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