Against the Wind: African Americans and the Schools in Milwaukee, 1963-2002

By Bill Dahlk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
FROM BLACKS FOR TWO-
WAY INTEGRATION TO THE
COALITION TO
SAVE NORTH DIVISION:
A TRIUMPH FOR PROPRIETORSHIP

Integration is a way for white people to take us over.

—Larry Harwell1

Enough is enough!

—Slogan of the Coalition to Save North Division2


LARRY HARWELL’S SELF-DETERMINISM

In the mid-1960s, Lloyd Barbee and the MUSIC activists believed that school integration was the best route to quality education for black children. But by late in that decade, many African Americans—nationally and in Milwaukee—grew skeptical of that approach. They turned to a community control strategy, judging that greater black power over black schools (self-determinism) was a better answer. In Milwaukee, Larry Harwell and the Triple O organizing group he led were the most prominent advocates of this course. For Harwell, desegregation while African Americans lacked equal resources and faced racism would dilute black community power, weaken parent-neighborhood school ties, and favor white students over blacks in the classroom. In his eyes, community control

1 Interview with Larry Harwell.

2 See, for example, Black Response to Urban Desegregation: The Case of Milwaukee (Urbana: Afro-American Studies and Research Program, 1980), 1

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