1991 By the 1990-1991 school year, three-fourths of the white population lives in suburban and rural areas; blacks and Latinos reside largely in urban areas. Although whites comprise 70.7% of student enrollment nationwide, only 25% of students enrolled in the nation's largest forty-seven urban districts are white; blacks comprise 42.1% of the enrollment, and Latinos comprise 26.5%. Over 50% of students in the country's large urban districts are eligible for a free or reduced lunch‹the primary measure of student poverty. Sixty-six percent of black students are now enrolled in public schools with a more than 50% minority population. National data demonstrate that schools with a majority of minority children are dominated by poor children, but that 96% of white schools are populated by a middle-class majority.

In Board of Education v. Dowell, 498 U.S. 237 (1991), the Supreme Court holds that courts May end desegregation orders in school districts that had attempted in good faith to comply, even if this would result in immediate resegregation.

Justice Thurgood Marshall retires from the Supreme Court on June 27. President Bush nominates Clarence Thomas to replace him. During his confirmation hearings, Thomas becomes embroiled in a national controversy after being accused by Anita Hill, a former employee, of sexual harassment. Despite the controversy, the Senate confirms the nomination, and Thomas takes his seat in October.