Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program



Whaley, Gray


This paper surveys a 1989 school desegregation case in Rockford, IL filed by minority and working class parents in an attempt ensure quality education for all students. It also provides insight into issues facing other mid-sized Rust Belt cities such as deindustrialization. Rockford School District’s proposed 1989 reorganization plan, a response to the community’s economic woes, disproportionately affected minority students, leading to the People Who Care lawsuit. The ensuing debate revealed public fears and exacerbated racial and class tensions.Considering cities like Rockford provides a corrective to civil rights scholarship that ignores grassroots fights in the North and focuses solely on national leaders.