Press & Events

Upcoming Events

Alachua County Public Library

Headquarters Branch – Meeting Room A
Saturday, November 17, at 2:00pm

Mike Gengler Presents his new book We Can Do It: A Community Takes on the Challenge of School Desegregation

Press & News

Gainesville.com: New book to chronicle the desegregation of Alachua County Schools

Titled “We Can Do It: A Community Takes on the Challenge of School Desegregation” and written by Gainesville native Michael Gengler, the book uses interviews with 80 people along with interviews provided by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida, to show how black and white school administrators, parents, students and teachers dealt with the change in the 1969-70 school year. Read more…

Gainesville.com: Leading from the front on public education

Not for the first time is Alachua County facing quality and equity issues in its public schools. The desegregation years, beginning in 1965, provide a point of comparison. The county then, as now, needed improved facilities, and more generous state funding than the Republican governor was willing to provide (at the time, Claude Kirk). The county also had to desegregate its schools. Read more…

History News Network: The Heroes of School Desegregation Were the Teachers

Often overlooked in histories of school desegregation are the teachers. Most were products of segregated colleges. Nothing in their training prepared them to teach integrated classes. After the lawyers and the courts had their say, the teachers had to make desegregation work. Failure was not an option. We have public schools in the South today because of their courage and tenacity. Read more…

The Independent Florida Alligator: Gainesville native’s book chronicles the integration of local schools

In fall 1961, then-17-year-old Michael Gengler took a poll for his high school’s newspaper. The poll asked Gainesville High School students if they were in favor of desegregation. Sixty-two percent of the student body said no. “I was disappointed,” Gengler said. “Being from Gainesville and having a strong connection to the community, this was something I wanted to investigate.” Now, more than 50 years later, Gengler, 74, who was born and raised in Gainesville, wrote a book called “We Can Do It: A Community Takes on the Challenge of School Desegregation.” Read more…