A trial began Tuesday in Baltimore to settle a federal lawsuit that alleges that Maryland’s historically black colleges receive too little funding and institutional support to fully overcome past generations of state-sponsored discrimination, the Washington Post reports. The case hinges partly on whether Maryland spends enough money on its historically black public institutions to correct decades of disparity, a point the litigants dispute. It also poses a more complex question: For historically black schools to prosper, must they be protected against undue competition from other schools? Maryland’s public higher-education system operated for decades under a succession of desegregation plans. Blacks were mostly barred from several public colleges until the mid-1950s, and the institutions remained deeply segregated into the 1970s…

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