The landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court came out in May 1954, but it wasn’t until 1959 that Miami-Dade County’s schools admitted the first group of African Americans to Orchard Villa Elementary School, which had been all white. Seven-year-old Gary Range and three other black students broke barriers when they walked onto the grounds of the Liberty City school. White students left the school, black students and faculty were transferred in, and by the summer of 1960, only one white student remained. In the 1970s, busing of students erupted as a new flashpoint in the battle over integration. Today, some civil rights activists and researchers say some schools in Miami-Dade and the rest of the country have undergone a “re-segregation” process.
3/19/1983, Murry Sill/Miami Herald Staff: Carolyn Washington and her sons Jerry (13) and Antoine (11). For two years, Jerry Washington, 13, has sat on a school bus that takes him 10 miles from his Liberty City home to Thomas Jefferson Junior High in North Miami. He doesn't care: "You learn better from different colored people. You learn different languages. It's easier to talk." His mother, Carolyn Washington, cares. But if it's the only way to get her son to an integrated school, she'll put up with it. "There is no way I would let my kids go to a predominantly black school, " like she did, she says. "I was cheated, " Washington says now. "I did not know about anything except blacks. 1/12/1984, Rick McCawley/Miami Herald Staff: Fine Arts at Perrine Elementary. R.R. Moton Elementary School, a predominantly black school in West Perrine, has been trying for more than 10 years to prove itself to the area's white parents. Bent on filling the underenrolled school and stopping white flight caused by a 1971 desegregation order, the Dade County School Board has sent a new principal, new programs and new students to the school on Homestead Avenue. In 1971, the U.S. District Court ordered Moton to exchange students with two elementary schools, Perrine and Bel-Aire, each about a mile from Moton. At the time, each was serving middle to high-middle income white families. There were only a handful of black children at Perrine and Bel-Aire elementaries. Moton was made up entirely of black students. Since then, enrollment has dropped steadily at Perrine and Moton. Bel-Aire has maintained capacity enrollment. Students attend Bel-Aire and Perrine for grades one through four and Moton for grades five and six. 3/25/1983, Battle Vaughan/Miami Herald Staff: They call themselves the "Awesome Foursome." There's Tina Lehne, 15, who's white. Janice Green, 14, and Wanda Armstrong, 16, are black. Gina Ayende, 14, is the Latin touch. They met in cooking class at American Senior High. Integration is working, they say. Just look at them. "We stick together, " Janice says. They are best friends, who share their joys and sorrows and exchange gossip about boys and school. In the process, they have learned from each other.
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