On May 17, America celebrates the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. This landmark decision mandating the racial desegregation of our nation’s public schools has had both lasting effects on, and new implications for, students, parents, teachers and school administrators alike.
Today, race- and economic-based segregation in public schools is a growing phenomenon. Integration strategies and other efforts to ensure equal educational opportunities for all students is front and center.
The columns and resources available here address policy initiatives, strategies of hope, and new ideas for fulfilling Brown’s promise.
A Call to Leadership, by Bill Taylor, May 17, 2004
In 1948, Sen. Hubert Humphrey – against all odds – persuaded the Democratic National Convention to adopt a strong civil rights plank.
Fifty Years After Brown, the American Dilemma Continues, by Sheryll Cashin, May 12, 2004
In any given metropolitan area I could tell a tale of two different schools, a tale in which inequality closely mirrors the race and class of the students attending the school.
All Deliberate Speed, by Charles J. Ogletree
On May 17, 1954, an otherwise uneventful Monday afternoon, fifteen months into Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, Chief Justice Earl Warren, speaking on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court, issued a historic ruling that he and his colleagues hoped would irrevocably change the social fabric of the United States.
The Failures of Integration, by Sheryll Cashin
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court declared in its landmark unanimous decision, Brown v. Board of Education, that separate schooling of black and white children was inherently unequal, marking the dawn of the modern civil rights movement.
Unfinished Business: Keeping the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education, May 10, 2004
Panel offers advocates of six strategies a chance to articulate 1) how their ideas are connected to Brown; and 2) why their strategy offers hope for the future in pursuing the dream in Brown.
Event Agenda | Panelist Biographies | Listen to Event | Video Highlights
To read the Brown decision, click here: Brown v. Board of Education decision via FindLaw
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress opened an exhibition, “‘With an Even Hand:’ Brown v. Board at Fifty” on May 13 in the South Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Great Hall. On view through November 13, the exhibition is free and open to the public.
The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration will display the original 1954 Supreme Court decision in the West Gallery of the National Archives April 16 through July 5. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan: Documents Related to Brown
Federal Records Pertaining to Brown
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
On Saturday, May 15, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History opens a special exhibition: Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education. On Saturday, June 19, there will be a screening of February One followed by a conversation with the filmmaker. February One tells the story of the 1960 Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins.
U.S. Department of Education
On September 18, 2001, the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission was established for the purpose of encouraging and providing for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision. Here you’ll find information about the Commission, including answers to frequently asked questions, members of the Commission and of the Commission workgroup, speeches and anniversary related activities. The government and National Park Service will also dedicate as a national historical site the once-segregated school where Linda Brown attended classes. This facility will open to the public on May 17, 2004.
American Federation of Teachers
The American Federation of Teachers’ Web site provides a background on Brown, and the Supreme Court’s views on segregation and the 14th Amendment. It also provides links to classroom resources and lesson plans for teaching about Brown.
The Education Trust, The Unfinished Business of Brown
Two new reports: “New Core Curriculum for All” and “Education Watch: Achievement, Attainment and Opportunity from Elementary School Through College,” conclude that children who are enrolled in rigorous courses are better prepared for college and work, and, in almost every state, minority students are enrolled in lower level classes, are assigned to less-qualified teachers, and are disproportionately placed in special education—or suspended from school entirely.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Howard University will host a Brown v. Board 50th Anniversary Commemorative Awards Gala at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on the evening of May 17, 2004. Attendees will include Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Phylicia Rashad, with a musical performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock.
National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future
NCTAF recently released a report for the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board, which determines that there is a two-tiered educational system in America.
NEA has sponsored a year-long effort to raise awareness about the significance of Brown and the continuing need for the improvement of educational opportunities.