September 10, 1963: State Funds Private School for Whites to Avoid Integration in Tuskegee, Alabama [VIDEO]

1 Posted by - August 13, 2017 - CIVIL RIGHTS, Video

September 2, 1963, marked the first day of the school year for the newly integrated Tuskegee High School in Macon County, Alabama. Thirteen African American students had been selected to attend the school; however, on the first day of integrated classes, Alabama Governor George Wallace ordered the school to be closed due to “safety concerns.”

The school reopened a week later. On September 10, the second day of classes, white students began to withdraw. Within a week, all 275 white students had left the school and enrolled in a newly formed, all-white private school, Macon Academy.

In order to sidestep federal law and maintain school segregation, Governor Wallace and the school approved the use of state funds to provide scholarships to Macon Academy for the white students who had abandoned the integrated public school system.

Due to low enrollment, Tuskegee High School was ordered to be closed by the Macon County School Board, and the African American students were transferred to all-white high schools in Notasulga and Shorter, Alabama. Many white students from those schools boycotted and ultimately transferred to Macon Academy.

Hosted by the late D’Army Bailey, Moments in Civil Rights History is produced in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative and is part of Comcast NBCUniversal’s “His Dream, Our Stories” project. Visit His Dreams, Our Stories for more Civil Rights History, first-hand accounts from those who led, participated in or benefited from the Movement, or to share a civil rights story of your own (or that of a loved one).

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