Amber Duke: This is Amber Duke. I'm interviewing Dr. Bernard Minnis onWednesday, August 22, 2012, in his offices at Bellarmine University. Dr. Minnis thank you for your time today.
Bernard Minnis: Thank you.
AD: For the recording can you acknowledge that you signed and understood theconsent form?
BM: I signed the consent form.
AD: Wonderful. Can you say and spell our name for the record?
BM: Bernard. B-E-R-N-A-R-D Minnis. M-I-N-N-I-S.
AD: Great, I want to know for anyone who may be listening to this interview inthe future, that there is an extensive interview that Dr. Minnis did with the Southern Oral History Program that is available online that goes into a lot more detail than we will get into today. So for folks who are interested specifically in his background I would suggest checking out those interviews. For this interview will you just tell me when & where you were born? 1:00
BM: I was born in Louisville in 1941.
AD: From what I've read about you, you were born here but did not grow up in Louisville.
BM: That's right. My father accepted a teacher job at the Lincoln Institute. Idon't know how much time I have to tell you about this, but just a little history of Lincoln because it is significant. Lincoln Institute was a boarding school that was built in Shelby County in Lincoln Ridge. It was built there because of the Day Law that created dejuro segregation in Kentucky. Senator Day went to Berea and Berea had integration back in the 1860s. He went there to visit, I think it was around 1904 and saw integration and went back to the state 2:00and passed a law to stop the integration. And the law was also upheld by the Supreme Court surprisingly. So the Lincoln Institute was created to be a boarding school for African American youth who did not have a place to go to school. If there community did not have a school for African American kids, they went to Lincoln Institute.
AD: And your father was a teacher?
BM: My father was a teacher.
AD: Can you briefly describe your educational and professional background? Iknow that is difficult, but in five minutes or less?
BM: Education I went to Kentucky State University, I went to Western KentuckyUniversity for my masters and I received my Doctorate at the University of Kentucky. Experiences in teaching I taught in the Louisville school system. I started out in Paducah and came back to Louisville and taught in the Louisville district. I became a co-op coordinator for programs for disadvantaged youth. And 3:00that program -- the people in Frankfort asked me to come to Frankfort, to be the director of the program. I became the division director of voc-ed. It was in vocational education department in the state Department of Education. I came back to Louisville for a fellowship program that was gong to give me a doctorate and met the superintendent of Jefferson County. Jefferson County and Louisville were separate districts at that time. I was introduced to one of my colleagues who was working on her doctorate. They invited me back to be the assistant superintendent or associate superintendent for Human and Community Relations. That's how I got into Jefferson County, and the districts were merged and desegregated. The districts were merged and desegregate during that that time. 4:00
AD: And -- go ahead I'm sorry.
BM: That's probably enough. [laughs].
AD: Somehow you ended up here at Bellarmine.
BM: Yes, yes. When I came back as an assistant superintendent I also left hereand went to Charleston, South Carolina and did a similar job and came back to the state department as an associate superintendent for instruction. And then I came back to Louisville.
AD: And here you are at Bellarmine.
BM: Here I am at Bellarmine. I retired from the Jefferson County Schools andcame to Bellarmine.
AD: How long have you been here?
BM: I have been here a semester.
AD: Oh wow, okay. So you are new on campus.
BM: I went to an orientation yesterday. [Laughs]5:00
AD: Great! I did not know that. Well you have written and lectured extensivelyabout Louisville-Jefferson County school desegregation. And for this project on fair housing we are interested to explore some of the connections between housing and school policy. So as an entry to that discussion, can you give me a ten to fifteen minute history of student assignment in Louisville-Jefferson County. I know again books have been written on this, a newspaper series, if you could give the important bullet points and highlights.
AD: We are returning to the recording after a short break and talking about thehistory of student assignment in Louisville-Jefferson County.
BM: Louisville and Jefferson County were the largest school districts in the6:00state of Kentucky. And they were very different. Louisville, probably the older district was a district that had you know neighborhoods, very distinct neighborhoods, and they had their demographics where that they were nearing 50 percent African American. Jefferson County was the county district or the younger district and had grown just rapidly. It had become a suburban district and it had rapid growth in fact they had to have double sessions. They had schools going night and day as it were because the rapid, because of the rapid growth. 7:00
Around the same time, probably around the '70s because of this rapid growth, theH.E.W., which was the Education and the E and H.E.W. was education from the federal government was doing desk orders about the districts. Both were being looked at, but the county district was being looked at the most because it had several schools that were racially identifiable. What that meant was they had a large amount of African American kids. One of them was Newburg, which is a historical community where many African Americans went after their slavery. It has a history of its own. It became like a suburb, an African American suburb in 8:00essence. And that was in the county. In the city, what had happened with the city, then superintendent, this is back in '56, the superintendent decided to create this freedom to allow students to go where the wanted to go. And he was trying to address the Brown decision and the Brown II which was saying you must desegregate in deliberate speed "in all deliberate speed," is what the saying says.
AD: Was his Omar --
BM: This was Omar Carmichael. And Omar Carmichael created this process wherekids could go where they wanted to go in Louisville. What happened was that several black families chose to send their kids to some of the more prominent schools like Male and some other schools. And the white families opted not to 9:00go. So you didn't have a lot of room, but the option was there. I think that's what kept people from putting a lot of pressure on Louisville. But in the '70s people were looking at the impact but it wasn't moving, it wasn't integrating as they thought it would be. So you had the Newburg Community Action group that pushed H.E.W. and Jefferson County to begin looking at doing something.
One thing, I'm going to go back just a second because I want to stay with the'70s because that's when it all happened. Interestingly enough one of the attempts to better integrate Jefferson County was that several teachers from Newburg were sent to the Jeffersontown Annex and my mother-in-law was one of those teachers. [laughs]. I remember moving her in the '60s. There were 10:00attempts; there were schools like Seneca that had good diversity there. The school of Diane Sawyer, George Unseld that group. And David Cosby, some of the other noted athletics. And Thomas Jefferson had a similar profile. They had more diversity than the other schools and most of the other schools were either all white or because they had a neighborhood like Fern Creek has a suburban area of more affluent African Americans lived and they went to Fern Creek.
And so there was this effort to try to create a more diverse Jefferson County asit was growing. The Louisville community, the Louisville Board of Education and 11:00its staff were concerned that if they allowed the county to remain as it was that their 50 percent would grow where it would be almost total African American district. And it was decided that maybe what they ought to do is to opt out of it which would cause the county, which is the main entity, to take over the city and be responsible for the city. The two groups that were pushing for integration came together and they really were putting pressure on both the city and the county and the human state rights commission, the NAACP, the ACLU, and 12:00several other groups really putting pressure. And two things happened: one was the district was forced to merge and the judge who really wasn't interested in integrating the districts, he said they were already integrated, was overturned by the 6th Circuit which was his boss. They caused the districts to merge and desegregate.
Here we are in 1975 with two districts that were almost totally different. Theirdemographics were different; the county had about 5 percent African American kids. The city had about 50 percent African American kids. And they took two of the largest districts in the state and created about 150,000 district - kids 13:00district. But when they finally did integrate those numbers really went down. They had about 80/20 in the ratio. 80 percent white, 20 percent black. The city led the structure of the student assignment plan. And what is interesting, they all worked together but the city really had people working on it. A lot of the people were PhDs from all over the country. Some of them were school people, some of them weren't. Researchers. They had a lot of grants in Louisville. They had a lot of unique ways of trying to bring staff together. And so, they along with the county both had teams that worked on this plan after the judge called them in and said you're going to desegregate and you're going to merge. 14:00
The thing that I liked about it was there was an effort to try to be fair. Itwas hard because African American kids who were in the smaller numbers in this 80/20, mathematically they had to travel more and do more desegregation to do more than the white kids. The white kids would do two years and the African American would be like twelve. And it was based on your last name. Duke would be D, so you would go when your name came up, you know it.
The other thing that they did. They had the student assignment plan also hadhuman relations and community relations built into the plan. So it was part of the order. And that was the department that I was over. One thing too that really gave the district a national view was, there was something called the 15:00singleton ratio that came out of Mississippi and it was created when a lot of African Americans were losing their jobs as teachers. Because they didn't have places for them. Integration really wasn't, [laughs] it was desegregation. They moved black kids from historically black schools to white schools. And there weren't places for the black teachers. So that's why they created the singleton ratio. To make sure there would be enough black teachers there. And Jefferson County was one of the districts that had that. So Jefferson County became a model for desegregation.
The opening of it was about, there were people who had lived in the west end,16:00whites who had moved to the southwest and they were not happy with the idea. They said the government was taking over their rights. They fought back. They marched, there were people who shot at the buses. They had demonstrations. They had a lot of problems and so it lasted for literally just one year. And I would say less than a year. There were groups that came in. I can remember one experience they moved former county administrators to the city and former city administrators to the county. So my office was downtown at the old Louisville Board of Education. And they had a lot of demonstrations; they had the Klan who marched down Broadway. You can picture that - a parade. That's what they had a lot of people. The Black Panthers and the Klan met in front of my office there 17:00on Fourth Street and it was a very interesting, intense time. [laughs].
But one of the things that I feel good about, our department was commended for,particularly the student relations part, George Unseld who passed, was head of that department. He kept it from blowing up because they worked with the kids in the summer. We worked with the community and we worked with staff. So we had a good opening, you know. People really tried. Many people tried. It was tough. It was a tough time.
AD: I want to talk about, white flight and the growth of Bullitt County and18:00these counties right outside of Jefferson County once school desegregation started happening.
BM: There was extensive growth, flight, white flight. People who lived in thesouthwest went to Bullitt County and counties that way. People who lived in the east, many of them went to Oldham County. So that caused growth in both of those counties. The growth slowed when the district began to create magnets. That was the thing that really slowed that growth. Father Kelley who just passed, the Archbishop of the Louisville Dioceses said he would not become a haven for people running from desegregation. So while the Catholic schools did grow it was not an abundant growth. And also, there were some schools that as one author 19:00called schools built out of fear. There were a few private schools that came up, but really there weren't that many. There were enough, I mean you know. But there weren't that many. Now I think the districts number of people they have in it, it's close to 80 percent of the number of kids that could go to school are in the district.
AD: Going back to the role of the archdioceses, I've read that, well before, howwas that operationalized? How did he, I know that you said there was some growth, how did they prevent people from flooding into the schools or was that just sort of like a warning that was put out there to discourage people or did 20:00they have a plan you know, to not accept you know students for a certain amount of time that were coming into that system.
BM: I think mainly it was talking to his principles and the superintendents forthe archdioceses, they would not just open up. They would not have a lot of advertisements. They do now. [laughs]. At the time they didn't. They really just kind of kept a low profile and didn't just open the doors. They did have growth. He did as best as he could.
AD: Okay. I don't want to spend too much time on this, but obviouslyLouisville's desegregation plan has been challenged. Many times. 21:00
BM: [laughs] Many times.
AD: It continues to be challenged. There have been Supreme Court cases. Can youtalk a little bit about the current student assignment process in the district?
BM: Let me go back to some of those challenges. There were several challengesyou know, even going back from '75 on there were several challenges. One of the interesting challenges was the challenge against Central High School. Central is a pre-brown African American high school. My ancestors went there in the 1800s. Central goes back, an old school. Central had and still has a great career type program. Professional careers as well as other careers. So the plan, the student 22:00assignment plan, called for what they called ratio. You can only have so many African American and so many whites in the schools. And so the 15:50 was the ratio that was being used. A group got together, a group of parents who were African American which was unique. First I think they said it was the first time there were African Americans fighting against the student assignment plan. Historically African Americans, NAACP, and others were fighting for desegregation. This one was fighting against it. What they really were fighting against was the 15:50. If they did not have enough white students to go there, 23:00then black students could come in and fill those seats. That was the whole thing about Central. It really was an effort of some people, many of whom were Central graduates, who wanted to try to create this black enclave; you know the school that would be like some of the other schools, like Manual. Manual was a school that was a magnet and it had a large white population. And so they filed suit, they really tried to get the district to change the 15:50 or to let Central out from under it. So they filed suit, and it was the Hampton Case was the name of it. And in reality the district lost a little bit and gained a little bit. The 24:00district was able to maintain its student assignment plan. But Central was allowed to come out from under the 15:50. And Brandeis was one, and Manual was the other one. And Brown. These are all top magnets. And that was an interesting case because that case opened the door for other cases, predominantly white people who come in and claim as they were coming in. That was very interesting.
The other case that came in, the McFarland case was also a case similar, but itwasn't so much with race, but it was dealing with the student assignment plan. They even had some blacks who were a part of that claim. It's very interesting. 25:00But once Central opened that door, the Hampton Case. And the group called CEASE (?) opened that, then the other things began to happen. The Hampton case was the case that really caused the Supreme Court case. One of the plaintiffs in the Hampton Case interestingly enough, went to school with my daughter at Manual. [laughs] She was turned down and she wanted to put her child in a different school and she was turned down. This is, I don't know if this is the actually thing that happened, but people believe that she was told by someone that it was because the meeting had more black kids or something. It didn't help the case. 26:00So it went to the Supreme Court which was really interesting. Many of us were surprised, that the Supreme Court took it. They took the Jefferson County case and it took a case out of Seattle, Washington, which was not as large as Jefferson County, but it did bring in these issues.
AD: It married those cases together.
AD: Can you remind me what year that was, was that in 2004 or '05?
BM: Well it was settled in '07, so it will probably be around that. I can sendyou, I have the summary of the cases and I can get that to you. I have that at home.
AD: Okay, so after the 2000 case was settled, we have the plan that iscurrently, I want to say I guess it's contentious. It's facing challenges from 27:00attorney Teddy Gordon who has been involved. I'll just say as the interviewer it's seems he's made a career of fighting JCPS cases. Now he's moved on to bullying cases. Suing the district over those right now.
BM: He's waiting to hear the Supreme Court of Kentucky to make a decision there.
AD: Right, so if you want to mention something about that. Now there is a casethe Kentucky Supreme Court is looking at a case that is related to all of this.
BM: It's related. When you go back to the Supreme Court decision, interestinglyenough you have a plurality, the ones that were a majority of the court. The majority of the court was going to go against Jefferson County. But one of the 28:00majority, the plurality people stepped forward. Kennedy stepped forward and said that we, that districts still need to deal with diversity. They said that Jefferson County's was too narrow. It was a system that had blacks and whites you know and they didn't have like Hispanics and others. So it was too narrow. And Kennedy really helped the district not have to give up student assignment. And Roberts who interestingly enough changed the case [laughs] the other day in favor of the precedent.
But that's what happens, so you had this, we had to create a much broader case29:00in our approach. Not case, but system, student assignment system. And we did that by looking at having two areas and these areas were made up of people that were low income, minority, and a third factor -- it'll come back. And this created an area, and then you had the other area that was created by a majority. More educated, more affluent. And that was an A & B. And you had to have so many As and so many Bs. And so it almost looks like our other student assignment case. But the difference, one of the major differences was that it was much 30:00broader. And that's what Kennedy said, you had to make it much broader. The other thing that came out of it which now we have, was the issue, what do you do about people who live in a community that look like an A, but live in a B community. You know what I'm saying. If they are someone who was low income who had low education and who was a minority, who was out in the B area, then what would you do? And we struggled with that for a long time. The we was a team that had attorneys and had staff and consultants. So that was the problem for a 31:00while. But it was solved this time. The new plan which they are now living under, takes that into effect. They've created a -- they've put another factor in. So -
AD: So what was, do you remember what that is?
BM: Well, they moved to like a third group that they had. Once they were dealingwith two, now they are dealing with three. The case before the state Supreme Court really is dealing with the law that had come up back in the '70s. It was an old law that had to do with, it had to do with neighborhoods and it also had to do with enrollment. And had to do with the difference between attending and enrollment and that was the issue. And it's not resolved yet. 32:00
AD: I understand that correctly, the law says something to the effect of anindividual, a child, has the right to attend a school in their neighborhood and the district is fighting that saying, attend is not the same as enroll.
AD: And that is still up in the air.
BM: It's up in the air. The case had gone to the appeals court. The appealscourt, really came down on the district and said that's not right, doesn't make sense. You have to have neighborhood schools. So it's going to be interesting.
AD: Well, it's clear from the history that it's really impossible to talk aboutschool desegregation without talking about housing. Because if we had - the 33:00reason why, part of the reason why the district is so committed to these student assignment plans is because they want diversity in schools. And if we had mixed neighborhoods in our communities then we could have neighborhood schools that were diverse but that is not the case. So there are scholars like Gary Orfield who argue school policy is housing policy. I'm just curious about our thoughts on those connections that people make.
BM: If you go back, to the '70s and even before, the issue was there. A muchlarger about housing. About neighborhoods and schools were in neighborhoods, they were built for those neighborhoods. In county and in the city. And they 34:00were by in large segregated. You didn't have a lot of integration in the schools. And so that's why people often say that. And in fact, some of the argument and you may find this going back, this is I'm getting from recollection from sitting in the court and I may be wrong and I may be right. [chuckles] I think I heard one of the attorneys for the city say, "the housing segregation was an issue." I think it's in ambles of the court. And probably was argued before Judge Ward. I won't stake my life on it, but I remember that discussion 35:00in court. And you know you could go through Jefferson County and you can clearly see neighborhoods that were distinctively one race or the other. And that was something that was there. That was an issue.
AD: When you were a part of the school system and especially with your work thatyou were doing with members of the community and meeting with community groups during this desegregation process. Was housing discussed?
BM: Suzie Post, who was one of the people [laughs] the ACLU group, often broughtit up. It was brought up a lot. And the housing coalition when it came along 36:00also brought it up. Suzie felt very strongly and said it to the board and said it to the superintendent, said it to many of us, they are connected. They are connected. And that was a mantra for her in many cases. That housing, if we can correct housing, we can address other issues. Homelessness came along and kind of moved the needle a little bit away from the issue about student assignment. But it's still there and you will always see the people from the housing coalition speaking about what's happening with student assignment and with housing.
AD: I was pleased to interview Suzie for this project. And kind of going back tothis again, as you were a part of the school system -- I mean one of the things 37:00I was telling you about and op-ed the director of the Anne Braden Institute co-authored, one of the things that was argued was that in Louisville-Jefferson County that the school system has, that we as a community have saddled our school system, with diversity. Because we don't want to deal with the housing. It has become the responsibility of the school system to do this. And I just wonder when you were part of the district, did you all talk about that or feel that pressure or feel that way. Or are you just so focused on this is the task at hand, this is what we need to accomplish?
BM: It was clear that the school district was being asked that the societyshould be doing. That was always there. And you know the coalition that came together and fought for integration in the first place, you would see several 38:00groups that were focused on housing. The commission the ACLU, NAACP. That was part of it. You know. Sometimes it wasn't said as much, but all you had to do was look at who was there and some of the sayings that they had. It's interesting, I look back, and when I moved from where I was to the suburban area, I moved there because I was working in Frankfort so I wanted to be close to Frankfort and keep my wife and family here in Louisville. It was not that easy to move into the areas. During deseg there was a cross burned on my house. 39:00It was leaning against my house. It wasn't the Klan; it was some youth or a group of youth. But I had that kind of experience.
The housing is a very important thing to people. And particularly in themajority community. Where you live is very important. And it's a real challenge when you have people coming into your neighborhood. A lot of the student assignment issues had to do with; I guess they were spoken as if it had to do with housing more than it had to do with schools. It then began to center on schools. But some of that earlier stuff had to do with housing.
AD: Can you say a little bit more about that?40:00
BM: Well, many of the people who really fought desegregation. I came in contactwith a lot of them. It's interesting that one of the board candidates is George 'Stop Bussing' Tolters (?). I remember him from those days. [laughs]. He was a anti-bussing leader; he's now running for the board. He changed his name to Stop Bussing, the middle of his name. [laughs]
AD: Wow, I've never heard of this.
BM: It's in the paper. One of the things I guess, in talking to some of theanti-bussing leaders. Many of them came from western Louisville. When African Americans began to move into western Louisville, in the Shawnee area and some of the areas down there, whites began to move out; they went out to this new 41:00suburb. And they would say, we just left there now you're bringing them out here on us. Now, when they said it I thought they were implying housing. As well as schools. Schools were important but I believe they were concerned about people coming in their neighborhoods. And they had left the black community, didn't leave, it wasn't black when they were there. And if you talk to people now, a lot of people in their 30s and 40s, they were kids, well a little older. They were kids in the west end and then they moved out. It's a very complicated 42:00situation. You're dealing with some issues that have to do with social dominance type issues. And it's much broader than attorney's make it. They try to make it simple. Neighborhoods, people want to live in their neighborhoods, but it's more than that.
AD: I interviewed Dr. Hudson for this project and had conversation with himabout it. And interestingly he was talking about the fact the whites that were living in the west end, because of block busting, a lot of them lost a lot of money with realtors coming in as the transition was happening. As African Americans were moving on to various streets, realtors would approach families and say "Hey, a black family is moving in down the street, your property value is going to drop you better sell and sell fast." So people lost money selling 43:00these homes and then moving to the south end. That land was cheap land in some neighborhoods, not really the best land. So people felt burned by that process. Then the open-housing movement happened and a lot of those demonstrations happened in the south end neighborhoods so people felt, I've just been moved out of the west end and lost money and now I'm in the south end and people are marching down my street for open-housing. And then a few years later the school deseg happened. It is as you say so much that it all comes together. Obviously in '75 really exploded.
BM: Many people, now there are those who have a Catholic tradition and we see ithere at the university. But there were many people felt like they didn't have 44:00the option to go someplace or to move. They said the east end people can go to the private school although it's very expensive [laughs] whichever one you go. But they did feel this hopelessness you know, that we are being invaded. That was the feeling, if you listened to or maybe look at some of the newspaper articles and see what some of the anti-busing people, particularly those who are extremist, listen to what they are saying. You will understand. You may not agree, but you will understand the feeling.
AD: There is a historian at U of L who's just written a book, Tracy K'Meyer -
BM: Great book.
AD: Not her Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South. She's written a new bookthat will be out late this fall or next spring. And it's about bussing and 45:00schools and this whole process. So you'll be interested to read this when it comes out. She did some interviews and I wish I could name the activists, but I don't know their names. But when some African American activists who were once in favor of bussing who are now arguing for a return to neighborhood schools. I wanted to ask if you are familiar with this phenomenon and if so what do you think is precipitating that change in view point.
BM: Very interesting question. We presented together once.
AD: You and Dr. K 'Meyer?
BM: Yes. I had some of my artifacts, pictures and things. I even had a protestsign where the judge said, that you can't cross this line. It was made out of wood and paper. I still have that. It was given to me by a colleague of mine. 46:00That feeling was there before student assignment, during early student assignment. I had people on my staff that felt that way who were tremendous leaders and tremendous workers in trying to make it smooth. Their goal was keeping it smooth rather than the integration. And there are people who still feel that way. I could name you some people [laughs]. Carmen Weathers will be glad to tell you why he feels that way. He was a teacher, a retired teacher. One of the leaders in CEASE (?) which caused a central case. Probably Debbie Stallworth, Debbie Stallworth is another one who is in CEASE (?) and would tell you about her feeling in that. There are people who feel, who did I hear the 47:00other day, I guess Pastor Stevenson was trying to get charter schools you know in the west end, he would be one. I could probably give you another list of those who are not sure yet.
Part of the issues has to do with their belief that they didn't have to givetheir kids up to go sit next to white kids to achieve. That's the way they would see that. They are very concerned about the parents' loss of control. Now, I believe that we need to get the schools ready for desegregation. I'm a fourth generation educator, my wife is too. In fact her grandmother was a leader in the 48:00KNEA which was the black teachers association in the old days. And they wanted integration for different reasons. I use integration not deseg. They thought they were going to be able to hold hands with their white colleagues and go in and teach black children together. And also be able to have black children and white children learning together, learning how to live together. And this isn't a NAACP perspective, okay. But there are people who feel at the end of that bus ride that the black children are not being served. That they are because of their behavior sometimes and the behavior may have been read as special education, and they ended up with high numbers of African Americans particularly 49:00males in special education and being suspended. Whenever you talk to them, that's what they will tell you. They feel like maybe the teachers don't necessarily care about their children and quote "don't know how to work with their children." Ergo while we have a major focus on culture confidence in this district and that's what's causing it.
AD: And I've also heard a lot about the challenges that some parents, theAfrican American parents feel who may be low income parents. That if their child is being bussed to a school say in the eastern part of the county because of transportation issues, jobs, whatever, they have problems participating in their child's school. Whereas they wouldn't have those challenges if their child went 50:00to a neighborhood school.
BM: That's true. Middle class black parents would have it easier to do that, toget off. That's one of the big issues. Getting off work to go deal with a problem and having transportation to do it. That's one of the problems. And there's not as much sympathy as should be. About that, about a low income parent trying to deal with kids when their working a job that they just can't walk off.
BM: And that's a concern that I have. We need to find a way to work with parentsand you cannot apply those rules, "Well I don't want to do anything unless that parent comes here." Well that parent might not be able to get there. We need to look at an advocate system that would have somebody that could help these parents. But the district like the state said you can't have anybody come in 51:00unless they are a relative or somebody that's legally the guardian of the child. And so that is a real issue and it's not resolved yet. Schools are going to always have that. Until we begin to change some of the policies. Homeless children are beginning to cause them to change some of their policies and how do you look at things. And maybe it will spill over.
AD: Of course we always want examples of places that have done it right.Probably none of these places exist on planet Earth. I don't know if we can point to any community to say this is "Wow, this is the community that did it perfectly." I know that Louisville-Jefferson County as you mentioned earlier, has been a national model despite the challenges the district remains a national 52:00model for these things. As we come to a close, could you share any ideas on housing initiatives that could be positive in relation to student assignment? Ideas that you have examples that exist in the country?
BM: Well, I'm going to separate it for a second. Jefferson County by mostindicators has number one endured since '75. My kids are now, one is teaching and one is a counselor in this district. And it has endured even with all the court cases and everything. When the school district's superintendent has addressed or look at some of the issues that it has maintained. It's doing as 53:00well as you could expect. A lot of districts have given up. Jefferson County has not given up and that I think is something that is strong. They have adjusted. That's the important thing, you have to adjust. You can just use what you used to use in the old days. You have to be flexible. This is a very complicated, very tough situation you have to deal with.
Now, I don't want to get this wrong because you are doing a tape. Somewhere inthe Washington area, I'm not sure the county, Montgomery, or one of those counties in the Washington D.C. area, has put housing along with student assignment. And that's the way it should go.
AD: Do you know, you don't know the area specifically? Do you know many of the54:00details of that plan?
BM: Well, they tie student assignment and housing together. They have been ableto do it in a way that it's not like a separate entity, it's not something that's different. They are related and they are having success. They are address socio-economic issues as well. So it's, and I wouldn't know where to tell you to start looking for it. But I have been in conferences where it has been discussed. Everyone who talks about it says the same thing.
AD: And you don't know details on how it's operationalized?
BM: Not to put it on the tape. [Laughs]
AD: Okay. Is there a partnership between the school system and the city-county government?
BM: Yes, there is a partnership. There is a system or process about where they55:00decide housing goes, I would imagine they probably have some mixed housing type things. It seems to be in the area. But I wish I had known.
AD: I'll look into it. Is there anything else that you would like to mentionthat you have not had a chance too yet?
BM: Well, while I understand the African Americans who feel we need to return, Ifeel like Lyman Johnson said, "We don't need to let the wagon roll back down the hill." I grew up next door to Whitney Young Sr., head of Lincoln Institute. His son became head of the Urban League. One of the things that he said that stuck 56:00with me, he said, "We cannot go into integration unless both institutions go in and remain." What went wrong, several things went wrong. The Supreme Court did a good job when it did Brown vs. Brown, but it didn't consider teachers, so a lot of teachers lost their jobs. They didn't put black teachers in at the same level of white teachers. There were a lot of mistakes made and probably if they went back and cleaned up some of those mistakes or did it a different way we could be successful.
My children grew up with white friends and black friends and they understand howto live together. They are comfortable with other people. I've seen people that when I would sit down would move or move over and not sit next to me in the 57:00waiting area, while we are waiting to eat. Because they haven't been sensitized to working with other cultures and other groups. I've had supervisors tell me that they had some staff that said, "Well I can't work for black people." Because they've not been exposed to working with black people as classmates. And so from that perspective I think that's social part has been important, kids still need to be taught, yes. [laughs] Whether they are in an all-black setting, all white setting, whatever setting. We need to get teachers ready to do that. Especially those of us here in pre-service getting them ready to go. I think our folks are prepared and some of the other universities are trying to make 58:00diversity a part of their plan for teachers. And that's important.
AD: I am glad that you said that because that is one of the arguments that Ibelieve Dr. Orfield makes, about housing policy, because of the problems with educating our students, let's take the burden away from the school district. From doing all of this work for diversity in desegregating the community and let's allow the school district to educate the students. Novel idea. [Laughs].
BM: [laughs] I love to listen to him, he's on. He's sensitive to other things.He looks at it through a very pragmatic lense. He's not a flaming liberal and 59:00folks say and he's not conservative, but he looks at it from a pragmatic lense and his recommendations make sense.
AD: Well, Dr. Minnis thank you so much for your time.
End of recording.