Establishing separate public schools for black or white students have been declared unconstitutional over 63 years ago. Somehow, African-American and Latino students are fighting to attain the same education as their counterparts.

A federal judge released Tuscaloosa City Schools from the court-ordered desegregation mandate in 2000 that governed the city schools in Tuscaloosa, AL for over 30 years. It was a decision that would cause the demise of Central High School, a southern powerhouse, academically and athletically.

Central High school was the merger public high school of what once was Druid City High School and Tuscaloosa High School. In 1979, a federal judge ordered the merging of the two segregated high schools to force integration. It was the success story of the south. The newly Central Falcons would dominate athletic competitions and excel academically. The school was well-known for its National Merit Scholars, debate team champions, and its math team’s state championships.

The large student body consisted of all different races. However, the student enrollment of white students would slowly decrease. The city’s public school officials were afraid of white flight because parents of the white students were placing their children in private schools. The city board of education made the decision of splitting the powerhouse Central Highschool into three smaller high schools in 2003.

Northridge Highschool, Paul Bryant Highschool, and Central Highschool would become the newly public high schools. Students of the school protested for the city school officials to rebuild a larger high-school instead of splitting these schools. However, their efforts would not make a difference.

The past resurfaced, segregating the schools seemed obvious. The intentions seemed evident. Central High School is now predominately black. Northridge High is predominately white, and Bryant High is a mixture.  There has also been rezoning to further segregate the schools, removing more African-American students from Northridge and placing those students in Central or Bryant.

The racial isolation is an economic issue and students in those isolated schools such as Cental are at a disadvantage. These students are not offered many of the same vocational or honor classes. Although Central High School does IP classes, there are many opportunities those students are not afforded. For years after the split, Central High School remained on the failing school list.

Education has become a reflection of your household income. Tuscaloosa City Schools have become neighborhood schools that suggest,”No child, left behind”. Contrary to that, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Hundreds are left behind and many to come.


-Plychette Montgomery





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