The gospel of justice : community, faith, and the integration of St. Andrew's Episcopal School

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2014-05

Authors

Pinkston, Caroline Booth

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Abstract

This study focuses on the struggle to integrate St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, a small private school in Austin, Texas. A close examination of the history of this community sheds light on how privileged whites navigated questions of integration, especially in Christian communities. Pro-integration whites in these communities utilized their faith, understanding of community, and a rhetoric of respectability to move the school towards desegregation, forging a “middle way” through Civil Rights that achieved the goal of integration without damaging white interests in the community. Following St. Andrew’s through the 1970’s and 1980’s, this study moves beyond the implementation of official integration policies to trace how the school wrestled with questions of minority enrollment, white flight, and the relationship between private communities and the public sphere. Over the course of three decades, St. Andrew’s increased minority enrollment but adopted a narrower and more inward-focused understanding of community, becoming a more diverse space but not fundamentally questioning the nature of a private school in times of public crisis.

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