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through Mississippi. He had with him no demonstrators, no pickets, no militants. In fact, he had no purpose in mind but to walk through Mississippi unharmed and to prove to the Black people of Mississippi that they could go to the polls and about other walks of their daily life unmolested. He was shot down. Civil rights leaders from across the nation rushed to Mississippi to continue the march Meredith had begun. There ensued some division, some struggling for leadership, some pushing and shoving. A manifesto was issued which was endorsed by most of the leaders. But there echoed across the land a term the people had never before heard. It was Stokely Carmicheal's Black Power. The pendulum, then, in the social struggle began to swing the other way. Black people who had been laboring and contending for unity and oneness in the educational structure decided to invest their efforts in another direction. Black people who had not previously thought the matter through decided that it might not be an advantage to have their children educated beside the children whose parents sanctioned bigotry and hatred and who contributed to the kind of atmosphere in which Black people are oppressed and which an unarmed, innocent Black man walking the highways of Mississippi can become the victim of violence. It was a strange turn of events. The James Meredith incident, at least temporarily, marked the end of an era.
It was almost historically providential that the concept of school decentralization and community control emerged at this juncture in the scheme of things. It presented the Black community which had lost its way with a hope and a cause. The community determined that Black people would no longer suffer the twin evils of segregation and colonialism. If the schools had to be segregated, they would be segregated at every level. Non-resident whites could not reap the economic benefits of working in a Black community while Black children suffered the degradation of unwantedness. Out of the chaos that characterized the opening of I.S. 201 in Harlem, three experimental projects in decentralization were born. They were the 201 complex, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville complex and the Two Bridges complex. Delegates representing these complexes joined together to draw up those irreducible minimum guarantees without which community control is not possible. Some of the prerogatives which had to be assigned local governing boards were the right to control funds and fiscal policy, the right to hire and fire superintendents, teachers and principals, the right to collective bargaining.