The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education marked a turning point in the history of race relations in the United States. On May 17, 1954, the Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for public school segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law of the land.
Fifty years ago, the issue of equal opportunity education was simply one of state-enforced school segregation. Today, with the growing numbers of different ethnic and other identity groups in the public schools, the issue has become much more complex and multifaceted. There are many different perspectives on just how effective the 1954 decision really was. This guide is intended to provide background information for all who wish to explore the issues raised by the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
List of Sources
Anand, Bernadette, Michelle Fine, et. al., Keeping the Struggle Alive: Studying Desegregation in Our Town,A Guide to Doing Oral History. New York: Teachers College Press, 2002. Students research the history of the civil rights movement in their own communities.
Armor, David I. Forced Justice: School Desegregation and the Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. The author finds that voluntary "magnet" school programs are just as effective as mandatory busing policies. He proposes a new policy that would provide both desegregation and more choice for the parents of low-income minority children in urban school systems.
Brown, Cynthia Stokes. Refusing Racism. White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights. New York: Teachers College Press, 2002. These stories of four white civil rights supporters explore factors that have motivated whites to join people of color in the civil rights struggle.
Cooper, Michael L. Indian School: Teaching the White Man's Way. Wilmington, Mass.: Clarion Books, 1999. Native American children from the Sioux people were subjected to systematic deculturation and forced adoption of "the white man's way." This work provides an account of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and documents how educational systems attempted to "Americanize" children.
Cottrol, Robert J., Raymond T. Diamond, and Leland B. Ware. BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION: Caste, Culture and the Constitution. Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas Press, October, 2003. This overview is designed for students and general readers. Brown is placed in the context of slavery, caste and racial exclusion in American society. This study highlights the role of the NAACP, as well as that of individuals such as Thurgood Marshall, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Justice Felix Frankfurter.
Donato, Ruben. The Other Struggle for Equal Schools: Mexican Americans during the Civil Rights Era. State University of New York Press, 1997. This work looks at Mexican American school desegregation in the Southwest in general, and in one northern California community given the fictional name of Brownfield. It discusses bilingual education as well as school policies designed to promote desegregation.
Gonzalez, Gilbert G. Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation. Philadelphia, Pa.: Balch Institute Press, 1990. This book traces the history of Chicano education, exploring the bilingual and bicultural education movement, as well as detailing some of the rollbacks in educational reforms.
Greenberg, Jack. Crusaders in the Courts: How a Dedicated Band of Lawyers Fought for the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1994. The personal memoirs of one of the principal attorneys, and the only white attorney who argued Brown before the Supreme Court.
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality. New York: Knopf, 1976. Although published more than twenty-five years ago, this work remains one of the principal references for this subject. Based on extensive interviews as well as legal documents, it presents a detailed account of the five cases that came to be known as Brown v. …