An historical study of court-ordered integration in Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County schools

Joye Hayven Hood, Tennessee State University


A study was made to determine how the Federal Courts ordered integration in the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County, Tennessee schools, and how these orders were interpreted. A summary was made to establish the historical sequence and rationale for the actions of the Federal Courts. This study contributed to an understanding of the part educators played in leading up to the order issued in the case and provided an in-depth study to the implementation of the order. The following questions were established as guides for research in this study: (1) What was the scope of the first integration order? (2) How was this initial order implemented? (3) What methods were used to circumvent integration? (4) Was the Nashville delay unique? (5) What actions followed the initial court order? (6) Will the latest court order by Judge Thomas Wiseman integrate the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County School System? Findings. (1) The 1957-58 Nashville Board of Education plan did little toward desegregation since few black children registered. (2) It was found that the School Board's implementation of the 1971 plan prevented effective desegregation. (3) The Board petitioned for changes in the plan, submitted proposals for construction inconsistent with the approved plan and implemented unsanctioned proposals. They also petitioned to amend school zones. (4) The delay exhibited in Nashville was also apparent in other cities. (5) Busing of more than half of Metro's students began in September, 1971. In August, 1979 District Judge Thomas Wiseman ordered the Board to submit another plan. The Board submitted a plan to desegregate schools countywide to a ratio of 12 percent black to 52 percent white. Judge Wiseman ordered the Board of Education to develop a new plan by April 1, 1983. This was submitted and accepted, then approved. (6) The final court order is in the implementation stage. Until the changes are completed it will be impossible to ascertain if the current order will succeed where the others failed.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Joye Hayven Hood, "An historical study of court-ordered integration in Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County schools" (1985). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI8802609.