If you have the time or inclination to read only one book on the topic of school segregation and desegregation, you would certainly receive the same recommendation from almost everyone in the field: read Simple Justice by Richard Kluger ( 1975). This readable and fascinating book traces the history of school segregation and desegregation from the 1800s to Brown ( 1954) and its immediate aftermath. Other readable historical presentations that are both helpful and interesting are former NAACP Legal Defense Fund Special Counsel Jack Greenberg's Crusaders in the Courts ( 1994), social scientist Gary Orfield The Reconstruction of Southern Education ( 1969), John Egerton Speak Now against the Day: The Generation before the Civil Rights Movement in the South ( 1994), and Gil Kujovich ( 1992) lengthy article on the history of black education in the United States, "Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and the Black Public College." For comprehensive discussions of the early history of school desegregation I recommend J. Harvie Wilkinson, From Brown to Bakke ( 1979), and George R. Metcalf, From Little Rock to Boston ( 1983).
As of the writing of this book, the two most up-to-date and comprehensive analyses of school segregation and desegregation are David Armor Forced Justice ( 1995) and Gary Orfield and Susan Eaton Dismantling Desegregation ( 1996). Armor has been a consistent skeptic about mandatory busing and has testified on the antibusing side for years, but does support voluntary desegregation plans. He has written a valuable book, filled with empirical analysis, that everyone interested in this topic must read. On the other side of the topic of mandatory busing, and with a very different style (less quantitative but more readable), Gary Orfield's works are supportive of school desegregation and bus