September 11, 2019

Segregated But Educated: An Oral History Project

For information on this oral history project, email: Latorial Faison.

Thirty-one years after African slaves were granted freedom in the United States, Plessy v. Ferguson happened to ensure that they were "Separate but Equal." This ruling fueled what had become known as the Jim Crow Era, an era that was a reign of terror, violence, injustice, and inequality for Black people in the segregated South. Black people in Southern states could not utilize water fountains, restrooms, restaurants, pools, parks, libraries, movie theaters, or any places of business designated for "Whites Only." This was the famed separate but equal, but it wasn't equal. Most memorable, though not entirely tragic, was the reality that, Blacks could not attend public schools designated for "white students only." During these completely defining moments in American history, Blacks were "segregated but educated." And this time, ironically, may have been one of the last times where no Black child was ever left behind. 

  • 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal”
  • 1902 In accordance with the Constitution of Virginiapublic schools in Southampton County, VA were segregated with separate facilities for Black and White children 
  • 1954 Brown v. Board of Education
  • 1955 Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas
  • 1968 Green v. County School Board of New Kent County
  • 1970 Schools in Southampton County, VA were integrated in the fall of 1970. 

The most compelling and complex questions researched by educational scholars and practitioners today involve out-comes among minorities in plural societies (Mickleson, 1993).


The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of segregated education on African Americans from 1950-1970 in Southampton County, Virginia, to examine the lived experience of participants, to record and document oral history of the experience, and to inform current educational practices for African Americans.


This study will be conducted using qualitative methods, the phenomenological
approach. Oral interviews will be conducted with individuals who share the lived


For information about this research project, email:

An Oral History Project by Latorial Faison

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