1957 - Desegregating Little Rock
Prof. Harpalani believes there were some benefits to school desegregation. “When it comes to civil rights and human rights, progress occurs in small steps — sometimes very small. The major accomplishment of school desegregation efforts was to change the public discourse on race,” he said. “Prior to Brown and its progeny (including school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas), overt racism and theories of racial inferiority were generally acceptable in public discussions about Black Americans. Many White Americans espoused that White supremacy was a moral good, not an evil. Now it is true that White supremacy and theories of racial inferiority are still rampant in America, but desegregation at least set a public goal, however tenuous, of eliminating these and attaining racial equality” Harpalani noted.