White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation by Clara SilversteinWhite Girl: A Story of School Desegregation by Clara Silverstein

White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation

byClara Silverstein

Paperback | July 1, 2013

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This poignant account recalls firsthand the upheaval surrounding court-ordered busing in the early 1970s to achieve school integration. Like many students at the vanguard of this great social experiment, sixth-grader Clara Silverstein was spit on, tripped, and shoved by her new schoolmates. At other times she was shunned altogether. In the conventional imagery of the civil rights era, someone in Silverstein's situation would be black. She was white, however-one of the few white students in her entire school.

"My story is usually lost in the historical accounts of busing," Silverstein writes. At the predominantly black public schools she attended in Richmond, Virginia, Silverstein dealt daily with the unintended, unforeseen consequences of busing as she also negotiated the typical passions and concerns of young adulthood-all with little direction from her elders, who seemed just as bewildered by the changes around them. When Silverstein developed a crush on a black boy, when yet another of her white schoolmates switched to a private school, when she naively came to class wearing a jacket with a Confederate flag on it, she was mostly on her own to contend with the fallout. Silverstein's father had died when she was seven. Another complication: she was Jewish. As her black schoolmates viewed her through the veil of race, Silverstein gazed back through her private grief and awareness of religious difference.

Inspired by her parents' ideals, Silverstein remained in the public schools despite the emotional stakes. "I was lost," she admits. "If I learned nothing else, I did come to understand the scourge of racism." Her achingly honest story, woven with historical details, confronts us with powerful questions about race and the use of our schools to engineer social change.

Clara Silverstein directs the summer Chautauqua Writers' Center and is the author of three cookbooks, including A White House Garden Cookbook. Her articles have appeared in publications including American Heritage and the Boston Globe. She writes and teaches in Boston. 
Title:White Girl: A Story of School DesegregationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.41 inPublished:July 1, 2013Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820345091

ISBN - 13:9780820345093

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Table of Contents


Prologue. Bedtime Stories
A School Bus, a Mother's Tears
Joined Hands
My Father's Last Moments
Ann and Lee, Mom and Dad
Packing It In
You Talk like a Yankee
Freedom of Choice - Yes! Busing - Never!
"Model" Schools
Interim Integration
Busing Hits Home
Jim Crow's Legacy
Liberal Teacher, Southern Lady
The Buses Roll
No One Wants You Here
Black Is Beautiful
Separate Soundtracks
In the Classrooms
My Flag, My Shame
Girl Talk
Ebony and Ivory
The White Boys
Filmstrip in the Dark
The Fox-Trot, the Cha-Ch
Voice of Loneliness
The Liberals
Legacy of Defeat
No Yearbooks, No Good-Byes
Singing "Dixie"
The Open High School
I Surrender!
Belonging and Not Belonging
Driving Lessons
Preppie Envy
A Shell Tossed into the Ocean
The Education Mom
Racial Differences Still Evident
Was This a Good School?
My Father's Words
I Am Lee's Daughter
Splinters of Glass
Epilogue. Binford Middle School,25 Years Later

Editorial Reviews

It's easy to feel Silverstein's anguish, but her message is that positive social change is possible.

- Library Journal