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Transforming the EliteBlack Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools$
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Michelle A. Purdy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643496

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643496.001.0001

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Contending with Change and Challenges

Contending with Change and Challenges

(p.56) Chapter Two Contending with Change and Challenges
Transforming the Elite

Michelle A. Purdy

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter captures the development of Westminster in the late 1950s and early 1960s. By the late 1950s, Westminster’s student body had quadrupled, and the school was housed on the current West Paces Ferry Road campus. School leaders prepared for the possible closing of Atlanta Public Schools as black Atlantans called for desegregation in the face of oppositional state policies. As the civil rights movement increased in momentum, Westminster and other local schools, including Lovett and Trinity, received inquiries into their admissions policies from interracial organizations such as the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations and leading civil rights activists including the Kings, Abernathys, and Youngs, and black families such as the Rosses. Private school leaders worked to find a balance among multiple contexts and influences, including the enlarged federal presence in education and increased questions about federal tax-exempt status for private schools. Concurrently, a school culture at Westminster developed in ways that continued to reflect the “Old South” and included racist traditions while some white students earnestly debated and discussed the issues of the day.

Keywords:   Atlanta Public Schools, public school desegregation, Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations, Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Jr., Ralph and Juanita Abernathy, Andrew and Jean Young, Hubert and Edyth Ross, civil rights movement, Lovett School, Trinity School

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