Black Monday: The NAACP's Finest Hour

By Brown, Luther, Jr. | The New Crisis, July/August 1999 | Go to article overview

Black Monday: The NAACP's Finest Hour


Brown, Luther, Jr., The New Crisis


Monday, May 17, 1954. Howard University Professor John Hope Franklin received a call from his wife telling him that the Supreme Court had overturned the doctrine of separate-but-equal schools in the landmark Brown v Board of Education decision. That ruling -- easily the most important for the civil rights of black Americans -- would have an imposing impact on all Americans for the next half century. Realizing the importance of the long-sought decision, Dr. Franklin and his friends went out to celebrate. But all was not well, even then.

"The moment that decision was handed down," Franklin remembers, "the country and particularly the South conspired to render it toothless and unimportant and weak. We were out celebrating the victory and the opponents of Brown were plotting then to render it ineffective. That's the first thing to come to mind, especially as I see what is happening. And all the consent decrees and motions to vacate the consent decrees and the efforts to nullify are going on now, subtly, just as it was going on in those days boldly and bluntly. An effort was made to be certain that the decision was not going to be effective and all the pupil and teacher placement, activities about neighborhood schools and all that was an effort merely to prevent the success of the Brown decision."

It has taken 45 years, but the efforts of the opponents of Brown are paying off. In June, Harvard University's Civil Rights Project released a report analyzing enrollment statistics in public schools since Brown. The latest report, "Resegregation in American Schools," contains a dire warning:

"We are clearly in a period when many policy makers, courts, and opinion makers assume that desegregation is no longer necessary, or that it will be accomplished somehow without need of any deliberate plan. Polls show that most white Americans believe that equal educational opportunity is being provided. National political leaders have largely ignored the growth of segregation in the 1990s. Thus, knowledge of trends in segregation and its closely related inequalities are even more crucial now. For example, increased testing requirements for high school graduation, for passing from one grade to the next, and college entrance can only be fair if we offer equal preparation to children, regardless of skin color and language. Increasing segregation, however pushes us in the opposite direction because it creates more unequal schools, particularly for low income minority children, who are the groups which most frequently receive low test scores. Educational policy decisions that do not take these realities into account will end up punishing students in inferior segregated schools or even sending more children to such schools while simultaneously raising sanctions for those who do not achieve at a sufficiently high level."

One of the authors of the report, Professor Gary Orfield, adds:

"We can expect some really big changes by the year 2000 because a lot of the larger school districts in the South are ending school desegregation." So how did we get here? The answer requires that we revisit Brown v Board of Education.

After World War II, the NAACP led other groups in a sustained attack against segregation in all its forms in the United States. And, of course, they were met with very heavy resistance, especially from Southern states. That resistance was reinforced by a case known as Plessy v Ferguson, in which the Supreme Court, in the postReconstruction days of 1896, in a case involving transportation, enshrined in law the doctrine of separate-but-equal. For the next half century, the courts and the states continued to wrangle with the doctrine, mainly on the issue of public education.

Plessy v Ferguson afforded some shelter to those who knew it was wrong but who did not have the fortitude to try and overturn it. Whenever a challenge was made to existing Jim Crow laws, courts had only to cite Plessy in order to justify their decisions to maintain the status quo. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Black Monday: The NAACP's Finest Hour
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.