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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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