Breaking Apart: Confronting Race in East Baton Rouge Parish

Gabriella Runnels

Abstract


Residents of the southeastern, unincorporated portion of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, an area with a long history of racial segregation, attempted to form a breakaway city and school district for the purpose of obtaining more direct, local control of their neighborhood public schools. Called “St. George,” the proposed city was disproportionately affluent and White in comparison with the surrounding parish. Belinda Davis, president of One Community, One School District (OCOSD), an organization established in 2012 and opposed to the movement to create a breakaway school district and city, denounced the St. George effort for its significant racial consequences. This case examines Belinda Davis and OCOSD’s struggle in confronting resistance to open discussions of race in the St. George movement by people who believed that race was not relevant to the issue.

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