Thousands of Black Students Leave Chicago for Other Segregated Districts

By Kalyn Belsha

Chicago Reporter

When Chicago Public Schools announced plans to close their neighborhood elementary school in March 2013, Lettrice Sanders and her children protested the proposal together.

Sanders, the president of the local school council at Emmet on the city’s West Side, became a familiar face in the media. “My momma, when she talked on the news, she was fierce,” her 16-year-old daughter, Brittany, recalls.

Lettrice and her husband, Kenneth Sanders, didn’t finish high school. She wouldn’t let the closures disrupt their children’s education.

But Emmet and 48 other elementary schools closed in an unprecedented decision for Chicago and any district in the nation. Sanders had a hard time finding another quality school for her children in Austin, the majority African-American neighborhood where they lived.


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