Three months after the death of Michael Brown, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed a commission to study racial inequality in St. Louis. The ensuing report, styled Forward Through Ferguson, advanced 189 “calls to action” aimed at addressing racial disparities in the region, including reforms to criminal justice, youth services, and education. However, the document made no mention of racial integration, a remarkable omission given that at the time of Brown’s death in August 2014, St. Louis boasted the “largest and longest running school desegregation program” in the country. That program, sparked by a 1972 lawsuit to desegregate St. Louis public schools, had involved the construction of magnet schools to draw white students into the city, mandatory busing within the city, and a voluntary busing program for black city students interested in attending majority-white suburban schools.

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