To Fight The Good Fight The Battle — страница 4

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facilities were also older and more run down than the facilities for white children.15 By the time the two board members ran for re-election in 1969 their candidacy was endorsed by progressives and they were being denounced by the fundamentalists who had initially put them in office. 16Nonetheless, Pasadena had not moved in the direction of integration and by the end of 1969 the federal court took the control out of their hands. Thus, because of conservative inaction one of their greatest fears was realized: The federal government stepped in to monitor the integration process. The federal government’s presence in Pasadena was immediately evident and the fundamentalists felt that they were under attack which caused them to quickly adopt a “siege mentality.” On January 20

1970, Federal District Court Judge Manuel Real gave the Pasadena City School District twenty-seven days to come up with a plan to desegregate the public school system. Not only did the District need to reduce the racial segregation of its students, but of its staff as well.Elementary schools in Pasadena traditionally followed the most inflexible standards of segregation. During the 1969-1970 school year eighty-five percent of the school district’s African-American elementary school children attended eight majority African-American elementary schools. At the same time, ninety-three percent of its white elementary age children attended the other twenty-one elementary schools in the district. Washington Elementary school, located east of the Arroyo in the Northwest section of

Pasadena, for example, maintained an enrollment that was over ninety percent African-American. During the 1969-1970 school year twenty-eight white students and 1060 African-American students attended this school. The Linda Vista Elementary school, located approximately one mile away on the opposite side of the Arroyo, in an upper-middle class, all white section of Pasadena known as Linda Vista, had 163 white children and one African-American child enrolled during the same period. This was not a new phenomenon in Pasadena. Washington Elementary School had historically been a majority African-American school and Linda Vista had been a majority white school.Cleveland Elementary School, also only a mile away from Linda Vista in the Northwest section of Pasadena, maintained an

enrollment that was ninety-seven percent African-American. When Linda Vista Elementary School opened with space for 255 students, not enough children lived in the area to fill its limited capacity . Up until 1964 the school district assigned the white students from Cleveland and another majority African- American elementary school, Lincoln, to Linda Vista in order to fill this gap.Another glaring example of the purposeful segregation involving these elementary schools can be seen between 1967 and 1969. The district closed Linda Vista school for two years in order to repair structural problems. Instead of reassigning these children to the three elementary schools in the Northwest area which were approximately one mile away and less crowded, at this time, the district reassigned

the children to a predominantly white school, San Rafael Elementary School over three miles away which had less room to accommodate these students than the closer, predominantly African-American elementary schools.In his decision Real addressed those gross inequalities. He wrote:The plan shall provide for student assignments in such a manner that, by or before the beginning of the school year that commences in September of 1970 there shall be no school in the District, elementary or junior high or senior high school, with a majority of any minority students.17These words served to polarize the community. Fundamentalists felt that the federal court had just destroyed any hope that they had of preserving the award winning quality of Pasadena’s public school system. Judge Real had

taken the district out of the hands of local officials and had given control to a federal government which had no idea how to handle Pasadena’s problems because they knew nothing of the dynamics of the population. Fundamentalists had no doubt that the federal government would destroy the school district and public education in Pasadena.At the Tuesday afternoon Pasadena school board meeting six days after Judge Real’s decision, the school board voted to comply with the court-order. Board Member John Welsh, visibly shaken by the decision, stood and pulled a folded piece of paper out his pocket and read the following statement:In my opinion we are today witness to the beginning of the end of local control, and under these conditions of Federal mandate where local officials, duly