60 Years After the Brown Decision, Some Awful Truths About ‘Progress’
It was no accident that education was the battleground for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund’s hand-to-hand combat with state and federal courts on the broader matter of civil rights. Education was among African Americans’ greatest aspirations; in apartheid America, it therefore was to be denied the descendants of slaves.
In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), a consolidation of five separate cases the Fund had been litigating over a 20-year period seeking equal access to education for African Americans, the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The landmark decision opened up the sluices of educational opportunity—although it many states found ingenious ways to delay its implementation—and ushered in the latter-day civil-rights era.
Now, 60 years since Brown, and 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, what does the record show about racial “progress” and “democracy” in America? Leid Stories says it’s time to admit to some awful truths.