Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Cliff Kuhn

Second Advisor

Michelle Brattain

Third Advisor

Katherine Hankins


Focusing on the city of Atlanta from 1972 to 2012, Halting White Flight explores the neighborhood-based movement to halt white flight from the city’s public schools. While the current historiography traces the origins of modern conservatism to white families’ abandonment of the public schools and the city following court-ordered desegregation, this dissertation presents a different narrative of white flight. As thousands of white families fled the city for the suburbs and private schools, a small, core group of white mothers, who were southerners returning from college or more often migrants to the South, founded three organizations in the late seventies: the Northside Atlanta Parents for Public Schools, the Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools, and Atlanta Parents and Public Linked for Education. By linking their commitment to integration and vision of public education to the future economic growth and revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods, these mothers organized campaigns that transformed three generations’ understanding of race and community and developed an entirely new type of community activism.