A lawsuit filed against legislative leaders in the state of Mississippi has accused the former Confederate stronghold of filtering out education protections for black students in its laws.
According to CBS News, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has filed suit against Mississippi on behalf of four black mothers who have children enrolled in public elementary schools. The SPLC lawsuit accuses the Magnolia State of failing to abide by an 1870 law, which prohibits denying any person of color “school rights and privileges.”
CBS News published a report on this story Tuesday (May 23rd). Some sobering information is contained in the report and it speaks volumes. There should be no doubt as to why the SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of these black parents in the first place. The CBS News report partially reads as follows:
All 19 Mississippi school districts rated “F” have overwhelmingly African-American student bodies, while the state’s five highest-performing school districts are predominantly white, the SPLC says. The schools attended by the plaintiffs’ children “lack textbooks, literature, basic supplies, experienced teachers, sports and other extracurricular activities, tutoring programs, and even toilet paper,” the SPLC said.
The SPLC lawsuit alleges that Mississippi’s refusal to enforce laws that call for racial equality in education funding dates back over 100 years.
“From 1890 until the present day, Mississippi repeatedly has amended its education clause and has used those amendments to systematically and deliberately deprive African Americans of the education rights guaranteed to all Mississippi schoolchildren by the 1868 Constitution,” states the SPLC’s lawsuit.
Indigo Williams, the mother of a first-grade boy at Raines Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi believes there are systemic problems in place that are preventing her son from getting the same quality of education that Mississippi public school students in predominantly white school districts get. Williams is one of the plaintiffs in the SPLC lawsuit.
“I’m filing this lawsuit because the state has an obligation to make the schools that black kids attend equal to the schools that white kids attend,” Williams said, according to CBS News.
These kinds of cases are motivating more and more black parents to take the education of their children into their own hands.