Under pressure from federal civil rights authorities, the state of Maryland has made stabs at integration for the last two decades, trying to make its white campuses more hospitable to minorities and its black campuses more attractive to all races.
The results are mostly discouraging.
The proportion of full-time black undergraduates at College Park has gone up significantly since 1977, the first year for which the state has records. But at Towson State University, the percentage declined just as much.
Likewise, at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the percentage of black undergraduates fell from 21 to 13 percent.
Meanwhile, the undergraduate student bodies at Morgan State and Coppin State are just as heavily black as they were in the mid-1970s.
For three decades, social thinkers have tried to figure out what to do with the most glaring relics of America's apartheid -- its historically black colleges.
Mr. Rawlings and others say the debate should be put to rest. Give both black and white colleges the money to do some good things and a reasonable amount of integration will naturally occur over time, they say.
In the meantime, predominantly white colleges will continue to fight to attract good black students. And public black colleges will continue to fight for their survival.
And civil rights lawyers will probably get rich haggling over how to implement the Supreme Court decision.
"Nothing good will come of this judicially ordained turmoil," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, the lone vote against last year's court decision, "except the public recognition that any Court that would knowingly impose it must hate segregation. We must find some other way of making that point."
And while many people do indeed disapprove of segregation, it's good to remember that there are many like Clarence Blount who say that forced integration might not be so much better.
Thomas Waldron covers higher education for The Baltimore Sun.