The History of Desegregation in Berkeley Public Schools

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Activists organized by BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) rally in front of the US Supreme Court to mark the anniversary of the Brown vs Board of Education decision May 15, 2004. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

California Senator Kamala Harris found herself in the middle of a Twitter feud earlier this week after she tweeted that she was part of the second integrated class at her Berkeley public school. Critics questioned her timeline and claimed that Berkeley schools had been integrated long before. The Berkeley Unified School District, however, did not intentionally desegregate until 1968, when the municipality was the first in the nation to voluntarily implement a two-way busing program. Today on Forum, we discuss the history — and current state — of school segregation right in our own backyard.

Natalie Orenstein, reporter, Berkeleyside
Erica Frankenberg, associate professor education and demography, Pennsylvania State University; director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights