June Shagaloff Alexander, School Desegregation Leader, Dies at 93

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-04-15 00:16Z by Steven

June Shagaloff Alexander, School Desegregation Leader, Dies at 93

The New York Times

Clay Risen

June Shagaloff in 1953. Thurgood Marshall hired her out of college to work for the N.A.A.C.P. on school desegregation cases. Bill Sullivan/Newsday RM via Getty Images

She helped Thurgood Marshall prepare for his Supreme Court fight and later took on de facto school segregation across the North and West.

June Shagaloff Alexander, whose work for the N.A.A.C.P. and its legal arm in the 1950s and ’60s put her at the forefront of the nationwide fight for school integration and made her a close confidante of civil rights figures like Thurgood Marshall and James Baldwin, died on March 29 at her home in Tel Aviv. She was 93…

…Although she was white, her dark complexion sometimes led people to assume she was Black, to the point of barring her from certain whites-only public spaces, an experience that she said shaped her early commitment to civil rights.

But this ambiguity proved to be an asset in her work. When investigating a segregated school district, she would visit a white school pretending to be a prospective white parent, then do the same at a Black school, pretending to be a prospective Black parent — a ruse that gave her a unique, unvarnished view of the district’s education inequities…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,