Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.


Lynn Beckwith

Kathleen Brown

Thomas Hoerr

Claude Weathersby


The St. Louis Public Schools of St. Louis, Missouri were at one time the second largest segregated school district in the United States. In the years since Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 and 1955, the school district of St. Louis has been attempting to desegregate as ordered by the courts. A group of North Side parents brought a lawsuit against the district and the State of Missouri that, after many years of litigation, found both parties to be liable for maintaining segregated schools, but an out-of-court settlement was reached. As a result of this suit and subsequent decisions, the 1975 Consent Decree, 1980 Intracity Settlement Agreement, and 1983 Interdistrict Settlement Agreement provided African American children in the city of St. Louis several new options for schooling that included both busing to majority white districts in St. Louis County and the creation of magnet schools within the city school district. The focus of this study is the magnet school system that was created as an outcome of the litigation and the two-tiered school district it subsequently created over the last forty years. Magnet schools, also known as selective enrollment schools, are provided extra resources, staff members, and are located in desirable neighborhoods whereas comprehensive schools, also known as neighborhood or open enrollment schools, are not provided these extra resources yet enroll large numbers of African American children. It will be argued that this lasting legacy of Brown is inherently unjust and unequal and in fact contributes to the systemic racism experienced by people of color in the city of St. Louis.

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