A K-8 charter school has opened in Livingston, Ala., that is making history. More than half of University Charter School’s 300-plus students are black, while just under half are white.
While not fully representative of the county’s split—76 percent black, 24 percent white—no public school in Sumter County has come close to reaching the percentage at University Charter, according to historical enrollment documents.
When federal courts demanded Alabama integrate public schools in 1969, 15 years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision ending segregation, white students in Sumter County, as in many places across the state, left public schools and created their own all-white, private schools.
According to the state, during the 2017-18 school year, all but 11 of Sumter County’s 1,500 students were black. Black students accounted for nearly 100 percent of enrollment in five nearby counties.
A version of this article appeared in the August 22, 2018 edition of Education Week as Opening of New Charter School Brings Integration to County in Alabama