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1 Brown v. Board of Education A 50 Year Retrospective New Mexico Highlands University School of Education.

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1 1 Brown v. Board of Education A 50 Year Retrospective New Mexico Highlands University School of Education

2 2 Brown v. Board of Education A 50 year Retrospective New Mexico Highlands University Mr. Jesse Miller Dr. Michael Immerman March 2003

3 3 Brown v. Board of Education Remembering 50 years of civil rights struggles Looking ahead to the future of equality Commemorating those who fought for justice

4 4 The strength of Brown is not that it is a point in time – its that Brown is a living legacy. We may commemorate and observe, but the state of public education today prohibits us from celebrating. Elaine R. Jones, President and Director Council NAACP Legal Defense Fund

5 5 As an eight year old Linda Brown had to walk across Topeka Kansas to get to school, while the white students in her neighborhood were able to attend classes at a public school just a few blocks away. The Topeka School system was segregated on the basis of race, and under the separate but equal doctrine.

6 6 Linda's parents sued in Federal District Court on the basis that separate facilities for blacks were inherently unequal. The lower courts agreed with the school system that the facilities were equal, the child was being treated equally with whites as prescribed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

7 7 The Browns and other families in several school systems appealed to the Supreme Court stating that even facilities that were physically equal did not take into account "intangible" factors, and that segregation itself has a deleterious effect on the education of black children. First grade classroom, Washington School, Topeka, Kansas. 1956

8 8 Their case was encouraged by the National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was argued before the Supreme Court by Thurgood Marshall, who would later become the first black justice on the Supreme Court.

9 9 Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group. *Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (USSC+) The Supreme Courts ruling reflected the intangible effects of segregation

10 10 A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of Negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system. *Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (USSC+)

11 11 In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis. In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. *Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (USSC+)

12 12 The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal," and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws …We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does. *Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (USSC+)

13 13 The Supreme Courts ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended the legal practice of segregation in America. Unfortunately the transition was not a smooth one. The nation paid a high price for its moral conversion.

14 14 Violence, hate speech, riots, assassinations, and intolerance plagued the civil rights movement. Although America has moved toward the ideals of equality and tolerance there is still oppression and injustice.

15 15 In August of 1955 in Money Mississippi, a fourteen- year-old black boy named Emmit Till made the irreparable mistake addressing a white woman in a familiar manner. Emmit who was from Chicago was visiting family down south and liked to boast how different life was in the big cities up north. As he was leaving a store in the evening he said bye, baby to the woman.

16 16 That night the womans husband and brother in law kidnapped Emmit from his uncles home at gunpoint. They drove him to the woods where they tortured and eventually killed the boy. Emmit Tills body was found the next day in the Tallahatchie River attached to a cotton gin fan, and rattled with bullets. A jury of twelve white men deliberated for only one hour and acquitted both defendants. The brothers smiling as they leave the court house.

17 17

18 18 Nothing very significant is accomplished really, in offering physics or calculus to Negro boys who intend to drop out at the ninth grade level and go to work farming or cutting pulp wood. James J. Kilpatrick editor of the Richmond News-Leader On February 1, 2003 Michael Anderson was one of seven astronauts who died aboard the shuttle Columbia. The research being done aboard the shuttle focused upon a cure for prostate cancer, which has a high rate among black men

19 19 The loveliest and the purest of Gods creatures, the nearest thing to an angelic being that treads this terrestrial ball is a well-bred, cultured Southern white woman or her blue-eyed, golden-haired little girl. Tom Brady author of Black Monday (a response to Brown V. Board of Education)

20 20 Today another type of segregation can still be seen in many schools and neighborhoods. It is known as "de facto" segregation, and it results from prejudices and stereotypes that separate our communities.

21 21 In some regions of the country, our schools are as segregated and profoundly unequal as they were when the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional fifty years ago.

22 22 Voting districts created to provide fair representation have been undermined by lawmakers and by the courts, and felony disenfranchisement laws have robbed hundreds of thousands of minorities of their right to vote.

23 23 so that today, one-third of all black men in their twenties are either behind bars, on probation or parole. The war on crime and drugs has disproportionately targeted people of color for arrest, prosecution and long, mandatory prison sentences

24 24 The vast majority of intensely segregated minority schools face conditions of concentrated poverty, which are powerfully related to unequal educational opportunity. Students in segregated schools face conditions that students in segregated white schools seldom experience. *The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University

25 25 In percent of all U.S. schools were intensely segregated white schools (less than 1/10 th black or Hispanic students) Of those schools only 15 percent were of concentrated poverty. *The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University Segregation and Poverty are linked

26 26 In contrast 88 percent of intensely segregated minority schools (less than 1/10 th white) had concentrated poverty. This means that students in highly segregated neighborhoods are many more times likely to be in impoverished schools. Concentrated poverty is directly related to both school opportunities and achievement levels. *The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University

27 27 Hispanic students confront very serious levels of segregation by race and poverty. Non-English speaking Hispanics tend to be segregated in schools with each other. The data shows no substantial gain in segregated education for Hispanics even during the civil rights era. The increase in Hispanic segregation is particularly notable in the West.

28 28 80% of Hispanic students in Western states attend schools that are predominantly segregated to people of color. * The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University

29 29 In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. *Oliver L. Brown, et al. vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas United States Supreme Court May

30 30 Numerous studies show that student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, and better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and better prepares them as professionals! …

31 31 These benefits are not theoretical but real, as major American business have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, culture, ideas, and viewpoints… -Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor

32 32 *The Civil Rights Project Harvard University From this chart you can see that major strides were made in desegregation through the 1970s; however, since the 1990s schools have become less and less diverse.

33 33 Student Enrollment by Ethnicity in New Mexico Total Enrollment: 322,790 *New Mexico Department of Education

34 34 Las Vegas City Schools Total Enrollment: 2200

35 35 West Las Vegas Schools Total Enrollment: 1999

36 36 Civil Rights Timeline 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Decision 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott 1957 Desegregation at Little Rock

37 Sit-in Campaign 1961 Freedom Rides 1962 Mississippi Riot

38 Birmingham 1964 March on Washington 1965 Selma

39 39 Today 87% of Americans believe that Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly. In the early 1960s only 63% felt that Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly. Today 62% feel that desegregation has improved race relations.

40 40 "Young people tend to take their education for granted. And when you start taking something for granted, it's not valued the way it should be," - Cheryl Brown Henderson Linda Brown (left) with her sister and mother

41 41 Discussion Questions – If you were a Supreme Court Justice in 1954 how would you explain your decision to the media? How would you handle being the first minority student in an all white school? Do you think a white students in minority schools face similar problems? Do you think that minorities have equal access in our society? How about women, disabled, and gays and lesbians? How has Brown v. Board affected your life? What do you want Americas educational system to look like in 2054 (100 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision)? Thanks for participatingJesse Miller, 3/04

42 42 For additional information consider the following website: reports/parents.htm Centre for the Study of Conflict School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster

43 43 For additional information consider the following series of 5 newspaper articles: segregation_index.html Santa Barbara News Press

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