Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Shawn R. Woodhouse, Ph.D.


Dr. Lynn Beckwith, Jr.

Dr. Patricia Boyer

Dr. Barton Herrscher


This project is a historiography of the merger of Harris and Stowe Teachers Colleges following the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. 483 (USSC 1954) Supreme Court decision. In September 1954, these two racially segregated teachers colleges, both operated by the St. Louis Board of Education, were merged on the Harris Teachers College campus. This merger represented the first instance of desegregated public education in the city of St. Louis. Fourteen alumni who attended the two colleges during this period participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews, recalling their experiences during the merger. This study also involved the collection of data archived during this period as well as an analysis of contemporary newspaper accounts. The study presents the merger in both its historical and personal contexts. Historically, this merger symbolizes the beginning of desegregated public education in St. Louis. On a personal level, this study tells the story of the Harris-Stowe merger from the perspective of the students involved.

The data from this project suggest three major findings: 1) the merger was free of animosity and proceeded without incident; 2) despite the smooth physical desegregation, little, if any, significant social integration was achieved between the Black and White students; and 3) the students from Stowe and the students from Harris experienced the merger in substantively different ways. Factors that explain these findings are discussed.

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