'The Reunion:' The Integration of Shaker Heights

Film Recalls Controversial Approach to School Desegregation

Former students of the Shaker Height's Ludlow school

Former students of the Shaker Heights' Ludlow school gather to talk about their experiences with desegregation in the 1960s. Virginia Sherwood/ABC hide caption

itoggle caption Virginia Sherwood/ABC
Former students of Shaker Heights' Ludlow school gather for a reunion.

Former students of the Shaker Height's Ludlow school gather to talk about their experiences with desegregation in the 1960s. Virginia Sherwood/ABC hide caption

itoggle caption Virginia Sherwood/ABC

In the 1960s, pitched battles over desegregation spilled into the streets in cities across America. But in an affluent suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, a quiet social experiment took place. The carefully choreographed struggle to bring integration to Shaker Heights is the subject of "The Reunion," an ABC Primetime documentary.

When black families began moving to the all-white suburb, many whites rushed to sell their homes. But a small group of parents of both races forged a bold and controversial strategy: they recruited new white families to move in and create racial balance.

Mixed feelings linger, as NPR's Michele Norris learns from a discussion with Paul Mason. Now a senior vice president of ABC News — and executive producer of "The Reunion" — Mason is the son of a woman who helped lead the desegregation campaign. Mason tells Norris one of his own school reunions sparked the idea for the documentary.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.