Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, is noted for its affluence,
the quality of its public schools and its success at racial integration.
But in 1997, an article in the local high school newspaper reporting
wide racial disparity in student test scores challenged the community's
assumption of racial equality. Shaker Heights: The Struggle
for Integration examines the ideals and the reality of one
of the few communities in the country where black and white families
have lived side by side for over 40 years.
The challenges faced by Shaker Heights are not unique to this Cleveland suburb.
Every American community has undergone its own "struggle" with diversity.
Divisions based on race, class, culture, politics and religion touch every aspect
of our social lives. In Shaker Heights, community members took an active stand
against "white flight," doing battle with individual fears and collective
policies to lay the foundation for an institutionalized, city-wide commitment
to integration. Can such efforts be effective in other communities as well?