Social Capital, School Desegregation and Education in West Alabama's Black Belt
Type of DegreeThesis
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The 12 counties constituting Alabama's Black Belt region are characterized, generally, by persistent poverty, poorly funded education systems, and racial stratification. Fifty-one years after Brown v. Board of Education, education in Alabama's Black Belt counties continues to be highly segregated between white private academies and public school systems where African American parents send their children. I examine the educational structures, experiences and racial interactions in three contiguous Black Belt counties using a case study approach. Through the conceptual framework of social capital, I explore the historical and persistent phenomenon of school segregation and the relationship between public and private schools. Findings indicate the legacy of school desegregation and the maintenance of “dual school systems” in west Alabama's Black Belt may be eroding in communities but continues nonetheless to adversely affect educational opportunity resulting in community disconnection along racial lines.