Post helps enforce the 1975 busing order
Post opens her interview by remembering how she worked to make sure the 1975 court-ordered busing plan to merge and desegregate the Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Louisville, Kentucky, school systems was enforced.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- SUZANNE POST:
Well, those of us, I think, who were wrapped up in school desegregation
couldn't think that it was over, because that lawsuit was the
beginning of a struggle that continues to this day and this is 2006. The
struggle has been to try and get for black kids in the public schools an
equitable educational opportunity and to try and get for black kids an
educational opportunity that didn't involve suspensions,
multiple suspensions, or didn't involve disproportionate
corporal punishment. So that even though we
desegregated the buildings in 1975, we really did not do anything to
dismantle racism. So no, I never thought the civil rights movement was
dead and I used my experience with the school desegregation in Jefferson
County as a platform from which to launch a Title IX monitoring project
of that same system.
I was employed at that time by the Louisville and Jefferson County Human
Relations Commission and I had started that job on the very first day
the schools were ordered to desegregate. I came to work. I was hired to
be the women's rights director, but the agency was so small,
I turned out to be the only one in this five-person agency who had any
knowledge of what was supposed to be happening in the schools. So from
the moment I walked in the door, after seeing every Louisville policeman
lined up in the parking lot across the street from our office, because
the police department was right across the street, in riot gear, which
was one of the most chilling sights I ever saw in Louisville, from the
moment I walked in that door, it was I, it had to be me, who was going
to keep an eye on the schools to make sure that the schools were
adhering to the court order and to see where there were violations, or I
perceived violations of the deseg order, and they were numerous.
I spent every other Tuesday night at the Jefferson County Board of
Education, which was their regular meeting night. So it was me and the
pro-deseg people and the Klan and the Save Our Community School people.
I mean, there would be as many as two hundred people jammed into that
building. And I've always said that one of the healthiest
byproducts of the lawsuit was the surge of community interest in how our
public schools were being operated And that went on for a couple years
that you had all these raggle-taggle gypsy groups, the liberals from the
east end, the reactionaries from the south end, the Klan from out there,
the Save Our Community School people. I mean, we
were all out there. We got to know each other. It was really
But I was there specifically to raise issues about violations, what I
perceived to be violations of an order that was supposed to result in
equitable delivery of programs to white and black kids. Almost from the
very beginning, disproportionate suspensions was like in your face.