Gerrymander Map

Posted on Posted in interviews

In 1958, Ernest Thompson organized the Committee for More Democratic Schools to fight the gerrymandering of districts in Orange that created de facto segregation in the public schools. Households in an majority African American section on the west side of Orange Park were zoned so that their children attended Oakwood Avenue School, while white children living on the east side of the park were bussed across town to Heywood School. Dr. Benoit Isaac noted that “for many years we have watched the Green Bus take children living as close as 100 feet from Oakwood [school] all the way to the other side of town so that they could attend a white school.” Thompson described that “we are not in this fight for ourselves. Either we fight for all children or we don’t fight. We make no deals with our children’s future.” This fight was successful, and, after only three months, the Orange Board of Education was ordered to redraw the district lines.

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