Segregation, desegregation, and race: A case study of the Englewood, New Jersey public school district, 1962–2000

Charles Anthony Cobb, Fordham University


The sorting and placement of students in public education is the responsibility of school administration and school boards of education. However, when the motive and purpose of student placement is based solely on race, issues of fairness, discrimination, and de facto segregation are called into question. This study embarks on a historical examination of the City of Englewood, New Jersey and its school district. This case study, beginning in 1962 and culminating in 2000, examines the city and the school district as the district moves through three distinct periods: The first period, Segregation, examines the history of the city and school district and investigates the placement and sorting of student within district schools. This study examines the school board's neighborhood school policy, its impact on students, and the Negro community's judicial responses. Desegregation, the second period, examines the organized efforts and struggle of community members to integrate the public schools through civil disobedience, judicial challenges to school board policies, and school boycotts. Resegregation, the third period, examines the slow but steady departure of White and middle-class Negro students from the city's schools and its impact on the school district as the board of education attempted to recruit White students. Two distinct conclusions emerged. First, historically, the school district did engage in deliberate discrimination of students of color utilizing the neighborhood school policy as a tool to maintain current school policies. Second, the study concluded that the use of the neighborhood school policy in a city with segregated housing patterns stratified by socioeconomic wards resulted in de facto segregation for children of color in public school. This study was able to provide insight into the policies and decision making of a northeastern United States school district mired in a struggle to maintain racially segregated school policies and practices developed before Brown, against an emerging Negro community armed with the promise of Brown and the demand of quality education for their children.

Subject Area

Black history|Education history|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Cobb, Charles Anthony, "Segregation, desegregation, and race: A case study of the Englewood, New Jersey public school district, 1962–2000" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3255007.