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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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(p.1) Introduction
Transforming the Elite

Michelle A. Purdy

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the book’s central arguments. This book contends that the lines between public and private blurred as private schools became focal points of policy and spaces to avoid public school desegregation during the mid-twentieth century. Leaders of independent schools also blurred notions of public and private as they responded to multiple historical, political, social, and economic factors. The first black students to desegregate schools like Westminster in Atlanta were born and raised in the decade after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This history posits that they courageously navigated such schools, drawing on their experiences in southern black segregated communities and in southern black segregated schools. Consequently, by virtue of their presence and actions, the first black students, including Michael McBay, Malcolm Ryder, Jannard Wade, and Wanda Ward, informed and influenced the Westminster school culture as it underwent institutional change. This narrative more forthrightly positions historically white elite schools or independent schools in the racial school desegregation narrative and contributes to an expanding understanding of black educational experiences in the third quarter of the twentieth century. While an institutional history, this book also chronicles, simultaneously, how the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) considered and advanced a focus on the recruitment of black students.

Keywords:   private schools, black students, independent schools, segregated black schools, desegregation, National Association of Independent Schools, Michael McBay, Malcolm Ryder, Jannard Wade, Wanda Ward

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