Local Leaders Weigh in on School Equality, 60 Years After Brown Vs. Board of Education

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(Memphis) Many are reflecting on the equality of schools in our area and around the country on a special anniversary. Saturday marks 60 years since Brown vs. Board of education, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools is unconstitutional.

When a black father won for the fight for his little girl to be educated the same as young white children, it changed the country forever. But 60 years after the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, both black and white leaders in Memphis and Shelby County say, “We are more segregated now than we've ever been. It's less about race and more about socioeconomics,” expressed Shelby County School Board Char David Pickler.

School systems in Memphis and Shelby County have been through a lot of changes in just a few years. Memphis surrendered its charter. Memphis and Shelby County schools merged and municipal school districts are in the process of forming; but its charter schools popping up by the dozens that has Pickler concerned.

“All those efforts to privatize are clearly an effort to desegregate schools and I think that's an abomination,” said Pickler.

Pickler adds that tax payer dollars should pump into poverty stricken schools.

Former Memphis City School’s board member, Pastor Kenneth Whalum agrees that the state of inequality in schools is troubling. But it’s not just a black and white issue.

“Blacks are in a position of authority and our children are still not being educated .It’s not the white man's fault,” expressed Whalum.

“So what do we so now?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.

That's a good question. We can't have another brown vs board of education, been there done that. Here’s what we got to, do black people got to take responsibility of their children,” replied Whalum.

Pickler says everyone needs to come together for Mid-South children to have the best chance of succeeding.

“When I talk about public education being a civil right, I mean it. Every child should have the opportunity for a great education regardless of their race ethnicity or zip code,” said Pickler.

*Bonus Interview Footage with Judge D'Army Bailey and Former Tennessee State Representative Johnnie Turner*


  • David Carter

    Before integration, Blacks had a great thing going among themselves. Once they started integrating with those people. The great thing they had was destroyed.

    • Joe

      what an ignorant comment….the fact is…..integration highlighted the fact that black kids werent being held to the same standards….

      and those with the means to do so sought alternatives…..i.e., county schools or private academies….

      no one liked being bussed for miles and miles to meet someone elses goal of an integrated society

      it was failure on a grand scale……but at least it caused standards to gradually be eqalized….

      now, if you fail…..you can blame yourself, not others

      • Don

        But at least it caused standards to gradually be equalized?

        Standard have been lowered. Seniors graduting reading at a 5th grade level. That’s equality?

        The schools have been dumbed down so some of the students could make it to graduation.
        What people don’t understand is you should don’t help the students by just giving them an education with a 5th grade level, they are still at that level., and that is equality you bet your Pippy you don’t!

  • hmmm

    That could be said from our point of view as well. But then again I’m not a racist, so I won’t say things like that.

  • Nuclear Mike

    RE-Segregation is the only answer to Public education not being totally destroyed as the blacks have contributed nothing to improving their communities nor the behavior of their youth…

  • Ed Crump

    “All those efforts to privatize are clearly an effort to desegregate schools and I think that’s an abomination,” said Pickler.


    That was an obvious misquote of what Mr. Pickler said (re-segregate).

  • Dave

    You notice that Rev. Whalum’s solution was to look within the community for problems instead of blaming white people for everything. All of his kids are successful, one of his sons just played with Bruno Mars at the super bowl. It just goes to show you that good parenting is the solution, not more government programs or race baiting.

    Its refreshing to see a blk man in Memphis tell the truth, especially with all the other leeches with the NAACP, Rainbow Push and all the other parasitic organizations that pretend to represent equality.

  • PicklerAintRight

    “All those efforts to privatize are clearly an effort to desegregate schools and I think that’s an abomination,” said Pickler.

    Mr Pickler most likely made this statement from his mostly white segregated neighborhood, while sending his children to mostly white segregated Houston School. Hypocrite.

    IF Mr Pickler believes in integration why isnt he living in Midtown or Whitehaven? He is an investment advisor so he surely knows he can get much more house for his investment in Memphis. Hypocrite donating his money to the less fortunate to clear his conscience. If you are gonna talk the talk then walk the walk Mr Pickler.

    When busing was implemented the suburban population exploded as did the school budgets and property taxes. Hundreds of billions down the toilet to implement that insanity with neghborhoods destroyed. What do we have to show for it these 60 years later? A school system in shambles and race relations at an all time low.

    Kenneth Whalum gave an honest answer in this article which is more than I can say for Mr Pickler. It is the Picklers of society that want your family and children to integrate while he resides in the safety of the burbs.

    When the Picklers of this nation realize just because you pass a law doesnt mean the people are going to live by it or agree with it the better off we all will be. You will never make Muslims and Jews live together. You will never make the religious approve of homosexuality and abortion. You will never make the socialist/communist agree with capitalists. At the barrel of a gun you make may someone do what you say but even then you will never control what they think. And even at the barrel of a gun there are many who would rather die on their feet than live on their knees.

  • smith

    Leader what leader, Memphis has no leader. The schools have been destroyed, Standard have been lowered. You have more uneducated people now than you ever had, with a billion dollar school system. You could put 2 billion in the school system it still would not help, all you would have is more black driving bigger cars, with the cash in there pocket.

  • whitesRdevilsanhypicrites

    May 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm
    Aids white biological weapon. Nuclear bomb whites, colonialism and barbarism WHITES wholesale destruction whites every major war whites racism and intentional changing of scripture whites feminist foolishness and homosexuality promotion whites theft of resources whites . Bottom line any ethnicity or nationality who trusts your ilk is out of there mind.

  • whitesRdevilsanhypicrites

    africa is the cradle of man and whites are a genetic mutation gone wrong hence his intense hatred of the negro and his every effort to destroy him. The negro must not be dumb and keep playing into your hand.i blame him for thay. If you know your enemy is after you don’t be foolish and use his vices like drugs or rap. Don’t listen to his feminist who say a woman doesnt. Need a man. That is voluntarily mental slavery.

    • Realist

      Wow, you’re an imbecile. Please, feel free to go back to your “cradle of man” as soon as you’d like.

  • Just Me

    Its not money its the fact that the black community does not value education, the community nor themselves anymore. Many have given up hope for themselves and their children’s futures. It is so sad, many that has graduated this year from MCS can not write a proper essay and are reading on six grade levels. Many are just passed on because the schools need the funds. They are not prepared at all and are far behind their white counterparts. I know from experience many years ago that this is a fact. Me and my husband moved away our family from this city, and when our children attended their mostly white school it was found that they were 3 grade levels behind their class mates. But we and the teachers created a plan to help them catch up and they did and are now in college. Thank God we moved , the school was surprised at how my kids had gotten so far in school and lacked proper education. We knew and we left the city for that reason. And yes we are black.

    • Cheryl Marty

      Good for You Just Me.. Your children deserve a good education and a foot hold to a good life. I wish them all the best and success . If more parents thought like you big changes could be made. but instead they are throwing fits because a teacher removed a childs shoes for disrupting the whole class and no one was able to learn. What does the mother do. scream race, and this is what they did to the slaves.. really.. Your child was keeping 25 others from learning that day.. I have desided that as long as this City thinks like that instead of demanding the children learn nothing will change.

  • Arguenot

    People seem to have forgotten something very basic in all the ranting rhetoric. Blacks were Denied the right to go to schools with whites. As well as use the same water fountains and other such nonsense.

    Now, no child, whose parent(s) live within a school’s zone, will be denied admittance to that school. Freedom of choice as to where and how you will live is the only thing restricting your child’s education. So quit crying when those who value education move away from the insanity that is Memphis.

    The only chains now imposed in this country are the ones you voluntarily put on yourselves.

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