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Friday, May 16, 2014 - 2:00am

Georgia Works To Preserve 'Equalization Schools' Designed To Make Segregation More Palatable

As the nation marks the 60th anniversary Brown vs. Board of Education Saturday, one woman is on a mission to save a relic of that era.

Georgia did not immediately comply with the Supreme Court's order to desegregate schools. Officials instead built new, modern schools for black students, in an effort to prove that schools need not be integrated to offer high quality education.

They were called "equalization schools," and between 1950 and 1967, at least one such school went up in every Georgia county.

"It was part of a massive resistance to school integration," said Jeanne Cyriaque, African American programs coordinator for the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Cyriaque has visited about 160 surviving equalization school buildings across the state in an effort to document and preserve them.

Designed in the International Style popular in the mid-20th Century, the buildings were flat and long, made of brick, concrete and other sturdy materials.

The schools were actually embraced by many in the black community, Cyriaque said. "Even though they were segregated, they were the most modern facilities the communities had seen in many years."

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