"The other side of the milliken coin": The promise and pitfalls of metropolitan school desegregation

Brett Gadsden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article explores the efforts of school desegregation proponents as they forwarded a metropolitan challenge to discrimination in school and housing policies that explained the concentration of black students in Wilmington, Delaware and white students in the surrounding suburbs. Their efforts proved successful in securing the nation's first court-mandated interdistrict, metropolitan desegregation remedy. This black political insurgency was accompanied, however, by a concomitant white backlash to a two-way busing program that was designed to overcome the racial divide. White opponents mobilized to exert a profoundly conservative influence on the outcomes of school desegregation policies and managed to shape the outcomes of reforms that demanded the dismantling of predominately black educational institutions and transferred the burdens of reform, in terms of both years and distances bused, onto black students. In this way, this article concludes that opponents of reform established themselves as indispensable, if counterproductive, figures in the Long Civil Rights Movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-196
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Busing
  • Civil rights
  • Delaware
  • School desegregation
  • Suburban
  • Suburbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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