Brown v. Board of Education

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tags: Brown Decision

The Warren Court (1953)

This page lists articles that put into historical perspective the changes wrought by the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Click here to read the Brown decision.

Commentary on Recent Supreme Court Decisions Involving Brown


  • Bonnie Goodman Interview with Michael J. Klarman, Winner of the 2005 Bancroft Prize

  • Christopher W. Schmidt The Delusions Behind the Brown Decision

  • Ian Haney Lopez The Supreme Court Case that Got Right What Brown Got Wrong

  • Kansas State Historical Association"Brown v. Board of Education: The Case of the Century"--The Kansas Bar Association created a 70-minute video,"Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: The Case of the Century," and related teaching materials as a project for the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision. The video features a reenactment of the 1952 and 1953 oral arguments presented to the U. S. Supreme Court. The video will run continuously during the exhibit, Equal Education: The Fight, The Right May 1 - 30, 2004, at the Kansas History Center and Museum.

  • Eric Foner & Randall KennedyBrown at 50

  • Michael Klarman The Supreme Court Has Never Been in the Vanguard of Social Reform

  • Robert Jackson Symposium To commemorate and consider Brown at 50, the Robert H. Jackson Center recently hosted three special events in Jamestown, New York, and at nearby Chautauqua Institution. The symposium featured Nicholas Katzenbach, law clerks from the Supreme Court of 1954, and the sisters Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughters of the late Oliver Brown of Topeka.

  • Newsweek Photo Gallery from the Era of Brown

  • Ellis Cose Why Brown Seems to Be a Bust

  • Suzanne Sataline Charles Sumner Made the Case Against Segregated Schools a Century Before Brown

  • Thomas Sowell We Are Still Paying the Price for the Faulty Reasoning in Brown

  • Sara Hebel 50 Years After Brown Inequities Remain at Universities

  • James Patterson Why It's Right to Remember Brown

  • William Kashatus Despite Brown We Are Re-Segregating Our Schools

  • Cass SunsteinBrown Reconsidered?

  • Drew Jubera Why Wasn't It Brown vs. Alabama or Brown vs. South Carolina?

  • Michael Klarman Why Brown Had Such an Impact

  • Chronicle of Higher Education What New Books Are Saying About the Impact of the Brown Decision

  • Justin EwersBrown V. Board of Education: 50 Years Later

  • Rick Shenkman The Panel Devoted to Brown at the 2004 OAH Convention

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Anita L Wills - 6/10/2004

In 1954 I was eight years old, and in the second grade. I was born, and attended primary school in Coatesville Pennsylvania. The name of my elementary school was Hustonville and it had one room for each grade. All of my teachers were white, and most of the students were black. The teachers were Ms. Redmond (also the Principal), Ms. Hatfield, Ms. Laird, Ms. Berkeheiser, and Ms. Marshall. When I was in the second grade, a male teacher was hired, and for the life of me I cannot remember his name. The teachers who left an impression were all the white female teachers.

The white students in my class had last names of, Scholenberger, Merritt, Baxter (my last name was Baxter, but these were the white Baxters), Reynolds, White and Warsaw. They lived in an area known as, White Hill, which was directly behind our home. The rest of the white kids attended Saint Cecilia, a Catholic School that no blacks attended (at least not when I was growing up).

I have fond memories of Hustonville, and the teachers, especially Ms. Redmond. She did not mince words, and had a paddle that she used on wayward students. Yet, she would put on plays, and come to school on Saturdays to teach the choir. She also hired a music teacher, Ms. Schuzinski, who taught piano, and led the Choir. I remember hearing Bach, Beethoven's 5th, and Mozart from Ms. Redmond. On one occassion she attempted to teach us, Old Black Joe, and the parents paid her a visit. We scrapped, Old Black Joe, and went back to songs like, America The Beautiful.

Our parents got together, and paid a Recreational Instructor, who came in the Summer. At the end of the year we had a big gathering, and the children who attended school every day were given awards. The families, black, and white would gather and listen to the most talented children sing, play music, and recite (I was good at reciting).

Also in my class were black children who only lived in Coatesville during the school year. They came from as far away as Little Rock Arkansas, stayed through the school year, and returned home for the summer. These children were some of the smartest in the class. Most lived with a relative, but some were boarding with families. After Brown vs Board of Education, these children disappeared, and I remember asking about them, some of whom were my friends. It was like one quarter of my second grade class, just disappeared.

Looking back now I realize that after Brown vs Board of Education, the children remained home with their families. They could now receive an education that was equal to their white counterparts. I remember those children, and how the GPA in our school dropped when they left. Some may argue that they were probably Middle Class, and they may be right. I remember that they were the A students, and took their education seriously.

Did Brown vs Board of Education do it's job? It is according to where you live, and the situation prior to the decision. In the schools I attended, you were required to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. If you did not learn it, you were kept back (no social promotion). My teachers were all white, and that was a political decision. The blacks who had teaching degrees (or any other for that matter), left and went to Philadelphia, or New York. Of course it is different now, and that is due just as much to the Civil Rights movement as Brown vs Board of Education.

lorena m wilson - 5/18/2004

Brown vs. The Board of Education: Today

In my opinion, the landmark case with it’s antagonists, Protagonist and Legal Strategist that lead to a Congressional Mandate to rectify the wrongs of separate but unequal education has become a monument, a statue to be gazed upon as an era’s long gone reflection in history.
This is an era of helmets and knee guards for children’s bicycle safety, yet, the same children don’t have bulletproof vest to walk the streets. This is an era of food fights in the school’s cafeteria and going home to no food. This is an era of sports and music careers reaching the pinnacle in salaries and teachers/school administrators can’t even vote for the betterment of the school where they work because they live outside district.
This is an era of if you make it through the proficiency test and graduate, the students don’t even know how to use the dictionary and entering college with a 10th grade, if that, reading level. This is an era where young girls discuss how to train their babies to sleep through the night instead of who they want to take them to the Prom if his other baby’s moms don’t go with him or if they don’t find out that he’s on the ‘downlow’. This is an era that if you do graduate from college, ‘what ya goin' do with your degree cause it ain’t no jobs, that is that they’ll let you have regardless of your qualifications {‘They’ is a term relative for the status quo racist or elitist-black or white or meddling fools.}
I celebrate Brown vs. The Board of Education because I know what the struggle meant and means. What about those coming along and, those yet to come whose futures are dependent upon that future; today’s future, so that there is that future Brown vs. The Board of Education had proposed.

john born - 5/15/2004

It is known by the students (she brought it to my attention) that it is going on here in Norfolk, Va. since busing has stopped. The classes after her are made up much differently then her class.
I will also add when Clinton or Gore were running for reelection that it was here that they came to show what shape the schools were in.
My last thought is that because of this states Dilion rule which controls local school tax funding by the state. It violates most of the Supreme Court's logic on the Texas case where it argued that most funding was a local mater whether it was fair for richer districts to pay lesser % in taxes then poorer ones.