Inequality, Education, and Race: A Comparative Study of Urban Education in Post-civil Rights New York City and Post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa

Open Access
Larkin, Kayla Nora
Area of Honors:
African and African American Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Clemente K Abrokwaa, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kevin J Thomas, Honors Advisor
  • Education
  • Educational inequality
  • Race
  • Inequality
  • Urban Education
  • New York City
  • South Africa
  • Cape Town
The purpose of this study is to compare urban education in the United States and South Africa. Specifically, it focuses on urban education in post-Civil Rights New York City, and post-Apartheid Cape Town, South Africa. The objective is to determine any forms of inequality that may still exist in the educational offerings and practices in the two cities, due to a history of social inequality on the basis of race. Following the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision made in the Brown v. Board of Education and the end of Apartheid in 1994 in South Africa, educational inequality should have been deemed legally obsolete. The Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregation in U.S public schools. Similarly, South Africa witnessed political negotiations and multi-racial democratic elections that brought about an end to its Apartheid regime in 1994, thus legally ending the country’s racial separation laws dating back to 1948. Despite these legal victories, inequality remains a problem in the educational systems of both the United States and the Republic of South Africa, particularly in the provision of urban education. These inequalities have created large achievement gaps between white students and non-white students. Several studies on comparative education have been conducted focusing on educational inequality in these two countries. However, very little research exists that focuses specifically on the inequalities found in the education systems of the cities of New York and Cape Town. This study hopes to fill the gap left by previous research studies. Data collection for the study will include library resources such as books, newspaper articles, Online journals, Internet sources, video documentaries, and interviews from teachers and university students in Cape Town and New York City.