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Movement-Countermovement Dynamics and the Emergence of New Institutions: The Case of "White Flight" Schools in Mississippi

Kenneth T. Andrews
Social Forces
Vol. 80, No. 3 (Mar., 2002), pp. 911-936
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3086461
Page Count: 26
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Movement-Countermovement Dynamics and the Emergence of New Institutions: The Case of "White Flight" Schools in Mississippi
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Abstract

This article examines the foundation of private segregationist academies that emerged throughout the U.S. South in the wake of court-ordered desegregation. I focus on the state of Mississippi where private academies grew dramatically from 1969 to 1971. I provide an analytic history of civil-rights and school-desegregation conflicts in Mississippi, and I use OLS models to examine county-level variation in local support for private academies during this period. My analysis shows that the formation of academies occurs as a response to desegregation (1) when there is a credible threat that desegregation will be implemented (implicitly signaling the "success" of the movement); (2) when blacks have the organizational capacity to make claims and voice protest within newly desegregated schools; and (3) when whites have the organizational capacity to resist desegregation. These three specifications extend models of racial competition that have been used to explain white countermobilization. I argue that the establishment of academies was a countermovement strategy that flowed out of the prior history of organized white resistance to the civil-rights movement. In other words, whites were not only responding to court intervention and the proportion of African Americans in their community, but to the social movement mobilization of that community.

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