In 1957, the Seattle School Board takes its first census of school enrollment by race. The Board finds that 5 percent of the 91,782 pupils are black. Nine elementary schools, eight of which are located in the Central Area, contain 81 percent of elementary age black children. This defacto segregation is highly frustrating to civil rights leaders.
As Quintard Taylor writes in his Forging of a Black Community, Seattle schools were not segregated by law, and no public official had encouraged defacto segregation as was the case in Chicago and elsewhere. "The enemy in Seattle was indifference in the white population, born of its perception that there was no problem in the city."