In the late-20th century, Charlotte, North Carolina’s public schools became a shining example of successful racial integration. Many affluent white residents even embraced the efforts by sending their white children to predominantly black schools like West Charlotte High, showing their commitment to making integration work and distinguishing themselves from violently resistant cities like Memphis and Birmingham. For Newsweek, Alexander Nazaryan looks at the history of Charlotte’s school integration and bussing programs, and how far the city and America have degenerated since those promising years.

By the time Foxx became mayor, the Capacchione v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decision had largely resegregated schools in Charlotte. “Neighborhoods became more segregated following the declaration of unitary status,” says Amy Hawn Nelson, a University of Pennsylvania education researcher who has closely studied Charlotte’s demographics (a school district has reached “unitary status” when it is no longer deemed segregated). The result, Nelson says, was that…

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