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U.S. Courts mark 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

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May 17 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark case that ended legal segregation in the United States. The federal courts are commemorating the historic Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Brown v. Board of Education with a variety of online resources.

The resources are designed as educational tools and include lesson plans for a reader's theater re-enactment of the case that includes speaking parts for 10 key figures in the case. They include Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case in 1954 as a lawyer for the NAACP; Topeka, Kansas, elementary school student Linda Brown; and then-Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The site also includes a history of the case and a profile of Thurgood Marshall as a justice of the Supreme Court.

Also available on the U.S. Courts website is a history of Brown v. Board of Education and related predecessor cases dating to the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, along with a podcast on Brown v. Board of Education.

60 years later

Kevin D. Brown, professor in the IU Maurer School of Law, called the decision "a turning point in American history." Even though it ultimately had a limited effect on school desegregation, he said, it had a far-reaching impact on American society.

“Recall that in 1954, people of African descent were called Negroes or colored out of respect, and coon, darkie and even black as an insult," Brown said. "The court's opinion preceded by 10 years the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by 11 years the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Segregation and conscious racial discrimination were the explicit law of the land in many areas of the country.

"Thus, while a reflection on this anniversary may acknowledge the frustration that comes with recognizing we still have a long way to go regarding race relations, it must also celebrate the success by pointing out how far we have come," Brown added.

Carlton Mark Waterhouse, professor of law at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, notes the decision created a tremendous sense of expectation. Many believed the nation's schools would no longer be segregated, either by law or in fact.

But that hasn't happened, he said. De facto segregation continued as many whites moved to the suburbs or transferred their children to private schools. Schools grew less segregated for 20 years, but progress stalled, he expained.

"Today we find that schools in many places are more segregated than they were in the '70s," Waterhouse said. "That is, I think, discouraging to people. We tend to view ourselves as a less biased society today. But these consequences and outcomes suggest there are still ways in which race is affecting the education of our children."

Read more analysis of the impact of Brown v. Board of Education.



 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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