Dean of the College, American Studies Program, and Historical Studies Program Present
“But Are They Colored?”: Asian Americans and Segregated Schools in the South
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Reem-Kayden Center Room 102
6:00 pm EST/GMT-5
Assistant Professor of History
Valdosta State University
During the early-to-mid twentieth century, principals and superintendents of segregated schools in the South faced a perplexing question: Were Asian American children white or colored? The question was important for deciding where the small number of Asian American students should attend school and a firm answer was necessary for upholding racial segregation and maintaining social order. Asian Americans were just as concerned with the question of their racial identity in, as one Chinese American student explained, a “two color” society. While laws pertaining to school segregation for Asian Americans varied throughout the South, battles between school districts and Asian American parents over their right to send their children to white schools resulted in local, state, and federal courts determining the “correct” race of Asian Americans for segregation purposes. Asian Americans did not readily accept the courts’ decisions, however, and actively pursued their rights to send their children to white schools through lawsuits and appeals. The Lum v. Rice Supreme Court decision and the Bond v. Tij Fung Supreme Court of Mississippi case (both from 1927) highlight the fascinating legal strategies that Asian Americans used in fighting school segregation in Mississippi and expose the understudied connections among Asian immigration, citizenship, and Jim Crow prior to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.
For more information, call 845-758-6874, or e-mail [email protected].
Time: 6:00 pm EST/GMT-5
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Room 102
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