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Black leaders held a press conference this morning as part of their unfolding strategy to stop Nashville's impending return to a more segregated school system. At NAACP headquarters, the Rev. James Lawson--a white-haired eminence of the civil rights movement--took center stage to express his outrage over the student rezoning plan.
"It's disgraceful in this land of ours that we are still having to organize ourselves to defeat the vestiges of racism that have never been dismantled and remain," Lawson said.
According to sources, here's the NAACP's game plan:
Somebody who blogs under the name "Shoot the Moose"
objects to our coverage.
: Shame the city into abandoning the student rezoning plan, which smacks of the days of desegregation when white flight created the city of Brentwood. Not a pretty time to recall. Thus we have Lawson speaking out at this morning's presser.
: If that fails, hit the school board where it hurts--in the pocketbook. That's the reason for the federal complaint that's been filed
with the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights. It makes two indisputable points: (a) the rezoning plan results in a more segregated school system and (b) the school board has refused to discuss a possible compromise with parents or even to place the matter on its agenda.
If the lawyers in the Office of Civil Rights are sufficiently upset about all this, they could threaten to withhold federal funds from our schools. The mere threat would cause the school board to knuckle under quickly.
: As a last resort, the NAACP will sue the school board in federal court. In that case, they'll have to prove discrimination, which might not be all that hard to do considering the backroom behavior of certain school board members
revealed in Pedro Garcia's memos.
Here's more of what Lawson said this morning:
I think that it's just shameful that this city that I have loved has not produced the leadership so that by this time we could have quality education for every child in this city. That is not and has never been an impossible task. It is a task for which there are sufficient resources in our community to accomplish if there were the will for it. It's disgraceful in this land of ours that we are still having to organize ourselves to defeat the vestiges of racism that have never been dismantled and remain. Those are most hurtful in this city in the area of public education where it is the black children and the poor children of many different stripes who are denied access to the gift of life, denied access to the kind of education that can enable them to explore and grab hold of the precious gift of life that is the creator's gift to all of us. It's shameful, disgraceful, immoral that this plight is still upon us.