In this historical examination, Amato Nocera, Kyle P. Steele, and John Hensley argue that the development of Black rural high schools in the decades leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision represented the dynamic between standardization, white supremacy, and Black self-definition that has shaped US education reform. Focusing on the interplay of state-level education administrators, local white officials, and Black community members, the authors’ analysis of Black rural high schools draws on archival data from DuBois High School in rural Wake Forest, North Carolina, to broaden the literature on the history of the American high school and contribute to an understanding of the Black Freedom Movement by recognizing secondary schools as vital to institution building in the Jim Crow South.

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