The Healing of Progressivist America: The Premises of School Desegregation within U.S. Civil Religion
Date of this version
Public schools, Progressivism, Religious rituals, African American culture, African Americans, Healing, School desegregation, Myths, Black people
Durkheimian theory posits a thin line between civil religion and public education. Indeed, Durkheim thought the two were intimately related in modern societies. This article examines the premises of school desegregation as a healing ritual meant to cure the evils wrought by U.S. apartheid. Within the logic of Progressive Education, the idea was to ritually integrate the schools as a miniature melting pot. Operating both symbolically and as a social change agent, the cure would heal America. Meanwhile the policy's assimilationist assumptions discounted U.S. black culture as championed by W.E.B. DuBois. Research on its mixed effects and a new call for multiculturalism have undermined the Progressivist premises of desegregation. Public education's current confused state mirrors larger patterns of mythic struggle within U.S. society.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion