The book cover for Struggling to Learn

By June Manning Thomas

Struggling to Learn

An Intimate History of School Desegregation in South Carolina

A semi-autobiographical history of civil rights struggles to educate Black children and desegregate public schools.

Headshot of June Manning Thomas


June Manning Thomas

Born and raised in South Carolina, June Manning Thomas left SC to attend college at Michigan State University (MSU). She chose urban planning as a field in part because of her memories of finding relief from Jim Crow accommodations in big cities that her family visited. She has taught at MSU, Cleveland State University, and University of Michigan (UM), and was eventually named the Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Urban Planning, UM. Her latest book is Struggling to Learn: An Intimate History of School Desegregation in SC (2022).

Previous Work

The book cover for Redevelopment and Rade

Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit

The history of the role of racial inequity in Detroit’s urban planning decisions about redevelopment.

The book cover for Urban Planning and the African American Community

Urban Planning and the African-American Community

Compilation of insights into the fractured relationship between urban planning and Black communities.

Cover image of the book Planning Progress Lessons From Shoghi Effendi

Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi

Spiritual principles necessary to plan successfully as revealed in plans led by Shoghi Effendi.

The City After Abandonment Book Cover

The City After Abandonment (The City in the 21st Century)

Critical issues facing U.S. cities that have lost population over the last few decades.


Struggling to Learn is a unique synthesis of deep historical research with a searing personal memoir.

—Robert Fishman, University of Michigan


Struggling to Learn is a deeply moving, meticulously researched, and much needed memoir.

—Bobby Donaldson, University of South Carolina


This book tells a fascinating, powerful story about race, education, and civil rights in South Carolina.

—Howell Baum, University of Maryland 

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