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Desegregation of the New York City Schools

A Story of the Silk Stocking Sisters

Theresa J. Canada

Desegregation of the New York City Schools: A Story of the Silk Stocking Sisters explores the use of young black and brown children to eliminate segregation in an urban public school to meet the challenges of equal education opportunity in the North during the mid-twentieth century. Author Theresa J. Canada, herself part of the experiment, tells the story of the desegregation of PS 6—an elite New York City public school—through the narratives of seven of the girls who desegregated the school. While all of the names within each narrative have been changed, the book follows the author as well as the stories of her elementary school classmates.

Desegregation of the New York City Schools provides a chapter explaining the history of PS 6 and this time period. There are chapters that describe the contrast between Northern and Southern school desegregation and the psychological and emotional impact these events have had throughout the lives of the girls in the narratives. The book concludes by discussing the sociopolitical issue of economic inequality and education. In a society where women still earn less than men, obtaining an education and earning a living is important for women and women of color in particular. Finally, this book addresses the dilemma of the re-segregation of public schools. Desegregation of the New York City Schools is suitable for courses in education policy, education law, and women’s and gender studies.

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