David S. Cecelski

American author, historian and scholar

David S. Cecelski (Born September 1, 1960) is an American historian, independent scholar, and author.



Along freedom road, 1994


David S. Cecelski, Along freedom road: Hyde County, North Carolina and the fate of black schools in the South. Univ of North Carolina Press, 1994.

  • [Black parents... felt they lost their roles as allies in their children's education] often alienated by the desegregated schools [that] too closely resembled the former White schools values, tradition, political sensibilities, and cultural orientation.
    • p. 9, as cited in: George W. Noblit (2015). School Desegregation: Oral Histories toward Understanding the Effects of White Domination. p. 64.
  • Most Blacks had supported the courageous struggles of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) against both school inequality and school segregation. The demise of their schools and the inequitable burdens of school desegregation, however, raised new doubts. There emerged a notable continuity between older, more conservative African American voices, which had given the building of strong Black schools priority over desegregation, and the newer "militant" expressions of Black separatism and community control.
    • p. 10, as cited in: Generett (2003).
  • [Despite complaints by Black community leaders that Blacks were becoming] tired of having to bear the burdens of integration
    • p. 59, as cited in: Wesley Null. American Educational History Journal. Vol. 33-2 (2006), p. 93.

Quotes about David S. Cecelski

  • [Vanessa Siddle] Walker (1996) and Cecelski (1994) both wrote histories of Black communities that created successful educational systems, which were ultimately lost during desegregation. Walker's research on the Caswell County Training School provides evidence of one community's commitment, sacrifice, and determination to provide and nurture academic excellence for their children. Cecelski's work in Hyde County, North Carolina, in turn, offers one of many possible examples of the lengths to which African-American communities went to prevent their community schools from being closed following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. Both works stand in opposition to traditional thought of Blacks as being incapable of creating and sustaining educational standards.
    • Gretchen Givens Generett, "What's in a Myth?: Qualitative Research as a Means of (Re) creating the World." Black women in the field: experiences understanding ourselves and others through qualitative research (2003): 89.
  • Cecelski’s (1994) casestudy in Hyde County, North Carolina, uncovered that White pupils received funds to attend private schools in an effort to avoid participating in desegregating public schools under the freedom of choice plan entitled the “Pearsall Plan.” Many African American schools closed in Hyde County to desegregate public schools from 1965 to 1968. As a result, many African American pupils were forced to attend other predominantly White schools.
    • Ezella McPherson, "Moving from separate, to equal, to equitable schooling: Revisiting school desegregation policies." Urban Education 46.3 (2011): 465-483.