Florida public schools’ integration and busing

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Southern New Hampshire University
Drawing on primary sources from the Florida Archives in Tallahassee Florida and other secondary sources, this thesis examines the integration of schools as well as the busing crisis in Florida. Specifically, this thesis provides explanation of court rulings like Brown v Board of Education as well as governmental leaders like Claude Kirk who influenced the actions in Florida in terms of desegregation. Brown v Board of Education did not issue an end date for desegregating schools but rather left the decision to lower courts. Schools in Florida took their time desegregating because there was no rush in the process. In the early 1970s lower courts implemented plans to desegregate Florida school districts by using busing as a technique. Busing would be a way to ensure that schools would have mixed races by sending students to schools outside of their communities. Governor Claude Kirk fought the implementation of busing in response to what his constituents wanted as well as his own personal beliefs. Unfortunately, Kirk took his steps against the courts too far by going head to head with the federal court system which eventually led to him losing the governor race for the 1971-1974 term. (Author abstract)