Test Cover Image of:  Crossing Segregated Boundaries

Crossing Segregated Boundaries

Remembering Chicago School Desegregation

Scholars have long explored school desegregation through various lenses, examining policy, the role of the courts and federal government, resistance and backlash, and the fight to preserve Black schools. However, few studies have examined the group experiences of students within desegregated schools. Crossing Segregated Boundariescenters the experiences of over sixty graduates of the class of 1988 in three desegregated Chicago high schools. Chicago’s housing segregation and declining white enrollments severely curtailed the city’s school desegregation plan, and as a result desegregation options were academically stratified, providing limited opportunities for a chosen few while leaving the majority of students in segregated, underperforming schools. Nevertheless, desegregation did provide a transformative opportunity for those students involved. While desegregation was the external impetus that brought students together, the students themselves made integration possible, and many students found that the few years that they spent in these schools had a profound impact on broadening their understanding of different racial and ethnic groups. In very real ways, desegregated schools reduced racial isolation for those who took part.

Author Information

DIONNE DANNS is a professor at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Desegregating Chicago’s Public Schools: Policy Implementation, Politics, and Protest, 1965-1985and Something Better for Our Children: Black Organizing in Chicago Public Schools, 1963-1971, and the co-editor of Using Past as Prologue: Contemporary Perspectives on African American Educational History.


"In a nation still grappling with segregation, this timely book elevates the voices of Black, Latinx, and White students to craft a compelling collective narrative of the experience of desegregation."
— Elizabeth S. Todd-Breland, author of A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s

"Thoughtful and well-written, Crossing Segregated Boundariescomplicates a literature that people think they know well. This book will be celebrated by Chicagoans and by anyone interested in school desegregation, race and education, and the experiences of minority students during desegregation."
— Hilton Kelly, author of Race, Remembering, and Jim Crow's Teachers

Audience: College/higher education;