Perry Meridian High School
Perry Meridian Highschool circa 1972
Backstory and Context
During the 1970s, it had become apparent in Indianapolis that the IPS or Indiana Public Schools systems were one of many corporations not cooperating in bridging the racial divide within their district. Indianapolis was a heavily segregated city, and Indiana schools had some of the most segregated schooling systems at the time - and still to this day, there are concerns about the lack of integration within many living school communities. In 1973, the IPS had taken little to no actual steps towards the desegregation of the city schools, and so the circuit court had to step in to control the situation. Judge Dillin was handed the issue and decided the most appropriate route was to enforce one-way busing to force integration into their schools. However, the judge did very little to protect students, credible to his notorious nature of rushing policies through with his known catchphrase "cut the wind-up, just give me the pitch (Los Angeles Times, 2006).This was met with great backlash withing the 6 schools that had been determined as the destination for these Black students, maybe most notably at Perry Meridian High School where it escalated so intensely that the FBI had come to investigate after rumors of Black students arriving at school with weapons for protection spread. LaTonya Kirkland, a student who had been bused into the school, recalls the greeting her and other Black students were given. While talking to the Indianapolis Star, Kirkland said she“remembers a dozen of her white classmates approaching the bus, their hands slapping against the yellow metal side panels...the bus started to rock as the white students slammed against the bus". Although it has its own individual history with desegregation, Perry Meridian High School represents just one of many school locations that put Black students in danger for the sake of ‘desegregation’.
Cavazos, Shaina. “Exploring the Racial Divide In Indy Schools As Integration Busing Ends.” WFYI Public Media, 12 July 2016, www.wfyi.org/news/articles/exploring-the-racial-divide-in-indy-schools-as-integration-busing-ends.
“Controls and Choices: the Educational Marketplace and the Failure of School Desegregation.” Controls and Choices: the Educational Marketplace and the Failure of School Desegregation, by Carl L. Bankston and Stephen J. Caldas, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, pp. 65–70.
Denne, Rebecca. “Inequality Remade: Residential Segregation, Indianapolis Public Schools, and Forced Busing.” The Indiana History Blog, 17 Feb. 2017, blog.history.in.gov/inequality-remade-residential-segregation-indianapolis-public-schools-and-forced-busing/.
“S. Hugh Dillin, 91; Indiana Judge Oversaw Schools Desegregation.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2006, www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-mar-18-me-passings18.1-story.html.