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A landmark school desegregation case, Keyes v. School District No. 1 (1973), originated in the Denver Public Schools. Keyes was the first school desegregation case involving “a major city outside of the South” to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Keyes required the Court to formulate constitutional principles that applied outside of the Southern context. Keyes was important for a number of reasons. For example, it led to the creation of a presumption that segregative acts in one part of a district implied discrimination across the district. In Keyes, the Justices also wrestled with the de facto/de jure distinction. Keyes is discussed alongside other school desegregation cases here.

Denver Public Schools was released from the Keyes court order in 1995, and integration ceased to be a priority for the district for several decades. It appeared to be re-emerging in 2017 via the district’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative, which currently seems to be halted.

In recent years, reporters have covered stories about integration in other parts of the state, noting that Mexican Americans in Southern Colorado Fought One of the Nation’s Early School Desegregation Battles (discussing the 1914 Maestas decision, the earliest known U.S. school desegregation case involving Latino students, which predates California’s better-known Mendez decision). Another article, The changing face of school integration, explored integration in the context of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.