A case study of the voices of African American teachers in two Texas communities before and after desegregation, 1954 to 1975
Standish, Hilary A.
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This qualitative study explored the experiences of African American educators who worked in two communities in Texas during the years 1954 to 1975. The goal was to document the educators? perceptions of teaching in segregated schools, their recollections of how the desegregation process was implemented in their districts, and their perceptions regarding teaching in desegregated schools. College Station schools desegregated in 1966, and Bryan schools desegregated in 1971. The study considered the years 1954 to 1975. A purposive sample of eleven African American teachers was interviewed. The data was analyzed in two ways. Findings generated using the categorical content method of narrative analysis revealed the following: In Phase One, when participants worked in segregated schools, they had to deal with numerous hardships; yet they had a high sense of teacher efficacy, had high expectations for students, and were highly regarded in their roles as teachers. 2) In Phase Two, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling had no immediate impact on the communities? schools, although there were a series of arsons committed against African American schools that proved to be critical in bringing about desegregation. 3) In Phase Three, the participants were typically re-assigned or demoted; yet several factors made their work easier, although it became difficult to develop meaningful relationships with students and some students felt disconnected from the educational process. Narrative analysis using the holistic content method discerned three overarching patterns found across the collective body of data. They were a) double consciousness, b) an ethic of caring, and c) resiliency traits. In addition to the above findings, the model of an inverted rite of passage was developed to describe the African American educators? experiences in which participants underwent a process of change, over which they had little control. Desegregation compelled them to leave familiar settings, and to make personal and professional adjustments. In contrast to traditional rites of passage, the participants did not emerge from this process with new-found, elevated statuses. Instead, they occupied a socially ambiguous terrain as they joined predominantly White faculties at desegregated schools.