Breaking Down Barriers: The Desegregation of Haywood County Schools

One of the most well known components of segregation in the South in the twentieth century is the segregation of public schools. Reynolds High School, Tuscola High School, and Waynesville High School are all schools in Haywood County, North Carolina, that underwent the struggle of desegregation. Looking through the The Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center’s archives certain images, people, and articles exemplified overcoming adversity, racism, and changes in school administration and studenty body demographics.  

Desegregation was enacted by the Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954.  This decision sparked outrage and rejoice, depending on who one asked.  This uprooted the norms of school systems across the nation.  Although this ruling passed in 1954 it was not enacted in North Carolina until the mid to late 1960s.  Nation wide desegregation was not done as quickly as people had hoped; the school systems decided when to enforce the Brown v. the Board of Education. This historic ruling overturned the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson ruling which enabled state funded schools to practice segregation as they pleased, so long as facilities were "seperate but equal."  

Despite the large amount of research conducted towards school integration, there are still missing pieces to form a complete and coherent exhibit on all Haywood County schools. More archival research is needed to complete a full portrait. The following documents hopefully will help encourage and inspire further research into the matter. 


Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center