Brown v. Board of Education
History was on the march in 1954. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racially separate schools "are inherently unequal." Although NEA was virtually silent on Brown v. Board, following the decision, NEA/ATA affiliates in Kentucky and West Virginia merged. One year later, the modern Civil Rights Movement was born, sparked by Rosa Parks' refusal to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, and the Supreme Court ordered racially dual public school systems to desegregate "with all deliberate speed." NEA and ATA state affiliates in the District of Columbia merged.
By 1956, many school districts were using desegregation as an excuse for firing Black teachers. While the ATA examined the dismissal of more than 300 Black teachers in Oklahoma, NEA and ATA state affiliates in Oklahoma merged. The following year, the Joint Committee distributed several tools to NEA and ATA members, including a kit on inter-group relations for teachers, as well as copies of A Study of the Status of Education of Negroes. The Committee also urged the integration of minority members into NEA programs.
Collaborating with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), the ATA created "Project One Thousand" in 1958, and bought and distributed 1,000 sets of 17 books for school classrooms and libraries to help students learn about Negro history and the significant contributions of Blacks to society.
Meanwhile, NEA and ATA state affiliates merged in Delaware.