Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Michael Fortner

Subject Categories

Civil Rights and Discrimination | Comparative Politics | Educational Leadership


Equity, Parental Involvement, Race, Gender, Civil Rights, Access


Since the historic decision of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, Black parents in the United States have been in a continual search for public school districts in which their children would receive an education that would allow them to be productive citizens and economically self-sufficient. From the period of the Great Migration to present day, the movement of Blacks in America has been driven by a quest for opportunity. Black parents have made tremendous sacrifices in the hope of securing a good education for their children, including movement away from families, longtime friendships and trusted institutions. This took the form in the mid-20th century of leaving central cities and relocating to nearby suburban communities. As a Black middle-class emerged, families began to seek refuge in communities across the country such as Shaker Heights (OH), Prince George’s County (MD), Teaneck (NJ) and the suburb under examination in this paper, South Orange-Maplewood (NJ).

This paper explores the extent of Black parental involvement, activity and attitudes in the South Orange-Maplewood School District and compares conditions in that community with the findings of research on the Shaker-Heights school district.