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Resources on Brown vs. Board

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This webpage includes a variety of resources on Brown vs. Board, including classroom resources for teachers, news articles, research reports, and videos.

Five Things You Need to Know About Brown vs. Board

While you may be familiar with Brown vs. Board, you may not know these five important details about the landmark case.


Classroom Resources for Teachers

Six Activities for Students to Investigate School Segregation and Educational Inequality
New York Times

How and why are schools still segregated in 2019? What repercussions do segregated schools have for students and society? What are potential remedies to address school segregation? This resource considers these three essential questions and offers entry points to an essential conversation, one that affects every American student and raises questions about core American ideals of equality and fairness.

News Articles

“The Determined Father Who Took Linda Brown by the Hand and Made History”
Washington Post

In September 1950, a black father took his 7-year-old daughter by the hand and walked briskly for four blocks to an all-white school in their Topeka, Kan., neighborhood. Sumner was the closest elementary school to their home, but Linda Brown was not allowed to attend because of the color of her skin. The Rev. Oliver Leon Brown seemed fearless that September day, his daughter would recall more than 50 years later during a 2004 speech at the University of Michigan. She remembered her father’s hands were strong, those of a boxer. He was a heavyset man who had once been a Golden Gloves champion boxer, and this was a fight that he was determined to win.

“‘Threatening the Future’: The High Stakes of Deepening School Segregation”
New York Times

Today, the decreasing white share of the public school population across the country may lead some to believe that schools are becoming more integrated. But the reverse is true, according to a new report from UCLA and Penn State. The percentage of intensely segregated schools, defined as those where less than 10 percent of the student body is white, tripled between 1988 and 2016, from 6 to 18 percent. In “a heightened period of racial conflict in our public life,” the report warns, deepening school segregation by race and class “are very high stakes trends threatening the future.”

“65 Years After Brown v. Board of Education, School Segregation is Getting Worse”
Vox

May 17 marks the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs. Board of
Education
, which determined that segregating schools on the basis of race was “inherently unequal” and thus, unconstitutional. But a new report finds that decades after that historic ruling, the phasing out of older programs to foster integration and a lack of new policies to take their place has left America’s schools increasingly segregated, especially for black and Latino students.

How Much Wealthier Are White School Districts Than Nonwhite Ones? $23 Billion, Report Says
New York Times

School districts that predominantly serve students of color received $23 billion less in funding than mostly white school districts in the United States in 2016, despite serving the same number of students, a new report found. The report, released this week by the nonprofit EdBuild, put a dollar amount on the problem of school segregation, which has persisted long after Brown v. Board of Education and was targeted in recent lawsuits in states from New Jersey to Minnesota. The estimate also came as teachers across the country have protested and gone on strike to demand more funding for public schools.

Brown v. Board of Education Was Rightly Decided. Why Do Trump’s Nominees Refuse to Admit It?
Human Rights Campaign

May 17 marks the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, which would normally be an occasion to commemorate the historic ruling and assess our nation’s progress towards equality and integration. But this year, there are startling new reasons to worry that Brown is imperiled by judicial appointees of the Trump-Pence administration — and that should raise alarms for everyone who cares about civil rights.

Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem
NPR

How much money a school can spend on its students still depends, in large part, on local property taxes. And many states aren’t doing much to level the field for poor kids.

Videos

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Khan Academy

A 15-minute deep dive into Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a Supreme Court case decided in 1954. It ended the doctrine of “separate but equal” and brought an end to racial segregation in schools. This video features scholars Michael McConnell and Theodore Shaw.

Research

Harming our Common Future: America’s Segregated Schools 65 Years after Brown
The Civil Rights Project at UCLA
Despite increased diversity in the U.S. population, this report finds that, since 1988, the share of intensely segregated minority schools—schools that enroll 90-100 percent non-white students, has more than tripled from 5.7 percent in 1988 to 18.2 percent in 2016. Historically many of these intensely segregated minority schools have also had high concentrations of low-income students. White students, which no longer represent a majority of the nation’s school enrollment, are the most racially isolated with the lowest exposure to students of other races in their schools—an issue that “should be viewed with concern given rapidly occurring changes in the nation’s demographics and culture, and research clearly showing the benefits of exposure to diversity for all students.”

Failing Brown v Board: A Continuous Struggle Against Inequity in Public Education
Journey for Justice Alliance
This report examines course offerings at high schools in twelve cities that serve black, brown, and white students. It finds a “clear rationing of opportunity that provides greater numbers, variety, and depth of courses to the wealthiest, whitest schools.” For example, in the greater Milwaukee (WI) area, Marshall High School, where students of color make up 94 percent of enrollment, offers only four English courses. Menomonee Falls High School, composed of 21 percent students of color and located only 7.6 miles away, offers ten English courses.

Nonwhite School Districts Get $23 Billion Less Than White Districts Despite Serving the Same Number of Students
EdBuild

Good schools can’t solve structural inequality on their own, but neither can it be solved without them. Without an effective education, our children’s futures are all but guaranteed to succumb to the imposed conditions of their lineage and location. And even after Brown v Board, even after decades of school finance litigation meant to equalize the playing field, and even after accounting for wealth disparities, the wrenching reality endures—the United States still invests significantly more money to educate children in white communities.

Congressional Activity

Hearing: Brown v. Board of Education at 65: A Promise Unfulfilled
U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee

Featuring testimony from University of DC Law School Professor John C. Brittain; Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond; Daniel J. Losen, Director of the Center For Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project at UCLA; and New York City Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, this hearing explored the history of Brown v. Board, current and historical educational challenges, and the federal government’s responsibility to fulfill the promise of educational equity as ordered in Brown v. Board.

Markup: Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act and H.R. 2639,
Strength in Diversity Act of 2019
U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee

During this markup, the Committee on Education and Labor approved two bills to promote school diversity and protect students’ civil rights: Strength in Diversity Act of 2019 (H.R. 2639) and Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (H.R. 2574).

Additional Resources

U.S. Library of Congress Exhibition

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board, the U.S. Library of Congress created an exhibition that examines precedent-setting court cases that laid the ground work for the Brown v. Board decision, explores the Supreme Court argument and the public’s response to it, and closes with an overview of this profound decision’s aftermath.

The exhibition features more than one hundred items from the Library’s extensive holdings, including books, documents, photographs, personal papers, manuscripts, maps, music, films, political cartoons, and prints. A film compilation captures the historic events and highlights media coverage of the struggle for desegregation.

Brown v Board of Education: A Divided Legacy?
Parents for Public Schools

This article is based on an interview with former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks, Jr. Banks was in middle school in Jackson, Mississippi at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, and years later (1968), he would be among the attorneys hired by the NAACP Education and Legal Defense Fund to represent clients who put their lives on the line to help eliminate the separate, “unequal” education systems for blacks and whites in Mississippi and throughout the South.

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