Project Director

Eckelmann-Berghel, Susan

Department Examiner

Stuart, Christopher; Kuby, William


Dept. of History


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Although historians have lent a great deal of attention to the Southern struggle for public school desegregation in the wake of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board decision, a comprehensive history of desegregation in Chattanooga, Tennessee has yet to be written. My research seeks to fill this gap by examining how desegregation operated in Chattanooga throughout the twenty-six year Mapp v. Board of Education of Chattanooga litigation. The first portion of this paper focuses predominantly on the school board’s lack of action between 1955 and 1960, the subsequent demand for action from the black community in the form of the Mapp legal case, and the slow nature of change during the first decade of implemented desegregation. The second portion covers the time between the 1971 court order which instituted busing in Chattanooga and the final dismissal of the Mapp case in 1986. During this era, the fight for and against desegregation evolved, as the white middle class of Chattanooga showed their distaste for integration by turning to legal resistance and “white flight” to county schools and private institutions as opposed to the more visible protest or resistance in previous decades. Although the story of desegregation in Chattanooga never featured the massive white resistance and protest that marked and dramatized desegregation efforts in many other American cities throughout the 1960s and 1970s, I argue that the confluence of entrenched residential segregation, ample opportunity for “white flight” to private schools, and white, middle-class legal resistance enabled the school board to maintain de facto segregation in schools throughout the nationwide desegregation crisis.


B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Segregation in education -- Tennessee -- Chattanooga; School integration -- Tennessee -- Chattanooga


Public school desegregation; Chattanooga; Busing


United States History

Document Type



55 leaves




Under copyright.