David Cecelski chronicles one of the most sustained and successful
protests of the civil rights movement--the 1968-69 school boycott
in Hyde County, North Carolina. For an entire year, the county's
black citizens refused to send their children to school in protest
of a desegregation plan that required closing two historically
black schools in their remote coastal community. Parents and
students held nonviolent protests daily for five months, marched
twice on the state capitol in Raleigh, and drove the Ku Klux Klan
out of the county in a massive gunfight.
The threatened closing of Hyde County's black schools collided with
a rich and vibrant educational heritage that had helped to sustain
the black community since Reconstruction. As other southern school
boards routinely closed black schools and displaced their
educational leaders, Hyde County blacks began to fear that school
desegregation was undermining--rather than enhancing--this legacy.
This book, then, is the story of one county's extraordinary
struggle for civil rights, but at the same time it explores the
fight for civil rights in all of eastern North Carolina and the
dismantling of black education throughout the South.