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ERIC Number: EJ1225341
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
"If You Go There…It Will Happen Again": The Historical Legacies of Racism, Law Enforcement, and Educational Inequality in Covington, Kentucky
Zaino, Karen
American Educational History Journal, v46 n1 p7-24 2019
In this article, inspired by Toni Morrison's evocative description of places that are "never going away" and events that "will happen again," the author explores the historical legacies of racism, law enforcement, and educational inequality in Covington, Kentucky. The author argues that these legacies can best be understood by juxtaposing and then reading across historical moments that share a geographic location. After establishing that Covington's police force, like so many in the Kentucky (Smith 2012), was likely founded to surveil and contain enslaved Black people in the Antebellum period, it is demonstrated that Covington public schools were created and maintained as racially separate and deeply unequal institutions for over a century. The author then examines two historical moments united by their Covington locale but separated by nearly fifty years: first, the author analyzes newspaper accounts of 1970 Black student protests and the white resistance these protests inspired; then, the author analyzes a 2014 lawsuit brought against a Covington school resource officer, who (the court found) used excessive force against an eight-year-old Latino boy and a nine-year-old Black girl. Ultimately, the author finds similarities in how children and families of color were portrayed by Covington school officials and law enforcement leaders in both accounts. Their actions, their words, and their very existence, were perceived and portrayed as threatening and violent. White violence, in turn, was explained and excused as precautionary, disciplinary--a safety measure. It is argued that these discursive representations, and the very real consequences these representations have had for Black and Brown students, are manifestations of Covington's long legacy of "unresolved social violence" against Black and Brown people (Gordon 1997). This paper concludes by proposing a methodology for reading history that explicitly seeks these legacies so that they might be disrupted.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky