This week, the rural University Charter School in Livingston, Alabama became Sumter County’s first integrated school.
Integration within Sumter County did not occur until recently due to events that occurred almost 50 years ago. In 1969, prior to Brown v. Board of Education, White students left the county’s public schools and created their own private institutions, the Birmingham News reported.
Segregation continued to occur within the all-White private schools, known as segregation academies, even after the ruling of Brown.
Within Sumter County, 76 percent of residents are Black while 24 percent are White, according to the Birmingham News.
“The charter school took on a huge task of integrating in this community,” kindergarten teacher Brittany Williams said in an interview with Birmingham News. “And I think our focus is to make sure that our children see this as normal, not something that’s out of place. Because it should be normal to our kids and to our parents.”