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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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The Blurring of Public and Private

The Blurring of Public and Private

(p.82) Chapter Three The Blurring of Public and Private
Transforming the Elite

Michelle A. Purdy

University of North Carolina Press

In this chapter, the author analyses Westminster’s development and its adoption of an open admissions policy in 1965 alongside an increasing national effort to recruit black students to independent schools. The civil rights movement and possible changes in federal tax-exemption policies for their institutions captured the attention of independent school leaders, and these leaders then increasingly sought to diversify their student bodies through shifts in policies, practices, recruitment programs, and scholarship funds including A Better Chance and the Stouffer Foundation. Westminster became a southern exemplar of this national agenda with its striking and political announcement of tis open admissions policy, but the school was also emblematic of the pragmatic desegregation politics of Atlanta. The first black students—the fearless firsts—who excelled academically, applied to Westminster as public school desegregation progressed slowly. The Westminster that awaited them had an environment that included racist traditions and a segment of white students who raised important, nuanced questions about the issues of the time.

Keywords:   open admissions policy, civil rights movement, tax-exemption, A Better Chance, Stouffer Foundation, pragmatic desegregation, Atlanta, public school desegregation

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