The Negro's Place: Schools, Race, And The Making Of Modern New Orleans, 1900-1960
"The Negro's Place" examines the relationship between public education and urban development in twentieth-century New Orleans, arguing that the expansion of segregated public schooling eroded two centuries of residential integration and contributed to the disparate development of white and black neighborhoods. The study challenges the popular concept of "white flight" as an explanation for metropolitan change by demonstrating that school segregation, as well as reaction to desegregation, divided urban and suburban space along racial lines. It also inverts prevailing scholarly interpretations of this transformation, which emphasize that public and private manipulation of the housing market created the racially distinct communities that promoted and sustained segregated schools. Additionally, the dissertation's examination of schools, race, and space underscores the extent to which Jim Crow continued to evolve through a dynamic, oftentimes improvisational process during the twentieth century. Finally, it demonstrates that, even as public schools became the sites of courtroom and neighborhood battles over desegregation, they continued to tighten racial inequality in ways that contemporary activists and observers did not always recognize. Most significantly, in the decades before and after World War II, segregated schools created structural inequalities in housing that impeded desegregation's capacity to promote racial justice.