Separate Is Not Equal

Brown v. Board of Education

A Teacher’s Resource Guide

To preparing curriculum materials



By Alonzo N. Smith

Research Historian, National Museum of American History

and Adjunct Professor, Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland



Introduction: Version of February 9, 2004


This electronically-published version of A Teacher’s Guide to Brown v. Board of Education is intended to make information available to grade school and college faculty in time to prepare course work for the coming spring, when national attention will focus on the fiftieth anniversary.  Between now and then, it will be updated periodically.  This work joins the steadily-growing body of materials on teaching the history of the civil rights movement.  Hopefully in the future, a printed version of this guide will appear.  In the meantime, I invite readers’ comments.  Valuable assistance in the compilation of this guide was rendered by Dave Kiernan, former high school professor in Ledyard, Connecticut, and currently a doctoral student in American Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and intern at the National Museum of American History.  In addition, I would like to thank Jack Dougherty, Assistant Professor and Director of the Educational Studies Program at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, for posting this guide on the “Teaching Brown” website.


Alonzo N. Smith

Research Historian

Room 4108,  MRC 616

National Museum of American History

Washington, D.C. 20013-7018





I. A Narrative

II. Study areas for Brown

III. Discussion and Study Topics

IV. List of Sources





Brown v. Board of Education

A Narrative



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.


Brown v. Board of Education reached the Supreme Court through the fearless efforts of lawyers, community activists, parents, and students. Their struggle to fulfill the American dream set in motion sweeping changes in American society, and redefined the nation’s ideals.


Segregated America

For the formerly enslaved people, the Civil War held out a promise of freedom.  For a brief period of time during Reconstruction, it seemed as though African Americans were going to be able to enjoy the rewards of hard work, the hope of seeking expanded opportunities, and of participating in American democracy.    From 1865 to 1875, three constitutional amendments and a series of acts of Congress were designed to ensure Black equality.  But the Radical Republican congressmen who enacted this legislation had many mixed motives, and in the long run, the national commitment to equal citizenship regardless of race did not endure.

Claiming to heal the wounds of the recent war, and to bring the North and South back together, northern politicians virtually abandoned their support for Black equality.  As a nation, America was deeply committed to the notion that people of European descent, and especially those from the northern regions of that continent, were innately superior to everyone else in the world.   Not only African Americans, but also Latino and Native Americans suffered various forms of discrimination.  The immigration of people from Asian nations was severely restricted, and those who did come found that they and their descendants born in this country were subject to laws, which limited their economic and social rights.  Many white people, from Jewish, and Southern and Eastern European backgrounds felt the sting of racial attitudes that questioned their membership in the white race.

As racial violence against African Americans rose dramatically in the South, the United States also extended its control over people in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Pacific, based on their alleged racial inferiority.   Keeping black people on a level of second-class citizenship was achieved through a series of measures known as “Jim Crow” laws.  Finally, in 1896, in Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation did not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  This idea that government-enforced racial segregation was compatible with a democratic society remained a cornerstone of the American constitutional system until 1954.


The Battleground: Separate and Unequal Education

            We cannot fully understand the significance of Brown v. Board of Education unless we look at the way that race has influenced American public education.  In nineteenth century antebellum America, the growth of free public schools were viewed as part of the basic ideal of an open society where all citizens had an equal chance to advance themselves.  But existing notions of race corrupted this ideal.  Not only were children of color often excluded or confined to separate schools, but also they were subjected to educational programs that were specifically designed to limit their employment opportunities.  The so-called “industrial education” programs associated with Booker T. Washington philosophy of education for African Americans, were also replicated in schools for Latino, Native American, and Asian American children.

Across the country, parents and community leaders fought a long struggle against school segregation. With little money or public support, they argued their cases before white judges and all-white school boards that had little sympathy for their concerns.  Three stories illustrate these legal battles in the long fight that would eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1840s the city of Boston maintained separate public school systems for Euro and African American students.  Benjamin Roberts filed a lawsuit against the city government because his daughter Sarah was required to bypass white institutions which should have been opened to her, in order to attend a school for Black children.   He was represented by Robert Morris, one the first African Americans to practice law in the U.S.A., and by Charles Sumner, the noted abolitionist and later Radical Reconstruction politician.   The state supreme court justice who decided the case, said in effect that the city of Boston could do whatever it wanted with regard to Black and White students in the classroom.  To the argument that the Massachusetts state guaranteed equal citizenship regardless of race, the court said that racial segregation did not necessarily imply inferiority of one race over another, but was simply a reflection of certain essential differences between the races.  This reasoning ironically anticipated the interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court a half century later in Plessy v. Ferguson.

In 1884 two Chinese American parents, Joseph and Mary Tape, attempted to enroll their daughter at the Spring Valley school in San Francisco.  After the principal told them to send her to a school for Asian children, they appealed to the California state Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor.  However, following this ruling, the state legislature passed a law setting up separate schools for “Mongolian” children, and these schools were not formally abolished until 1947.

Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez were Latino parents who lived in Orange County, in Southern California.  California law allowed for local school boards to decide whether to segregate Asian, Latino, and Native American children.  With the means to file a lawsuit, the Mendez made it clear that their action against the Orange County School Board was on behalf of all of the Latino parents in the area.  When a local court ruled in their favor, the School Board appealed to the state Supreme Court.  When the Board tried to claim that Latino children were not capable of receiving the same education as Anglo children, the Mendez put their daughter on the witness stand, where she completely disproved these allegations.

In Mendez v. Westminster, friend of the court briefs were filed by the Japanese American Citizens League, the American Jewish Congress, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  The NAACP’s brief was prepared by Robert Carter, who was one of the first attorneys to use social science evidence in a civil rights case.  Carter was later one of the lawyers who argued two of the cases in Brown v. Board of Education.  

The School Board’s appeal to the California State Supreme Court was denied, and the Mendez won  their case.  The governor at that time was Earl Warren, who the following year ordered the abolition of all racial segregation in California.   Some have argued that the Mendez case influenced his attitudes towards school segregation when he was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


A Legal Campaign

            African American attorneys spearheaded the campaign against school segregation, and beginning in the 1930s, they developed a long-range strategic plan to use the legal system to challenge official segregation in the United States.  Two institutions led the way, Howard University Law School and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Lawyers, many trained at Howard and supported by the NAACP, helped African American plaintiffs bring lawsuits against segregated school systems. Case by case, the effort began to undermine the legal principle of separate-but-equal.

            Howard University is one of the oldest historically Black universities in the United States, and it has provided a majored role in training African American leaders.  At the university one of the most important faculties was that of Law, and the most important single individual at the School of Law was Charles Hamilton Houston.

            Born into a middle-class African American family in Washington, D.C. Houston’s father was himself a lawyer, and head of the same office where Houston later began his career.  A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School,  Houston was one of the most intellectually influential lawyers of any race in twentieth century America.  After a few years in his father’s firm, he became vice dean of the Howard University School of Law, where he set about refashioning the school into a first-rate institution, that would produce attorneys who lead the legal struggle against white privilege in America. 

            His most illustrious student was Thurgood Marshall, several of whose classmates and successors argued the cases that came before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.   After modifying a report based on a white lawyer named Nathan Margold, he chose to file a series of lawsuits that did not challenge the principle of separate-but-equal, but instead sought equal facilities based on the principle laid down in Plessy.  Houston and the other civil rights lawyers proposed to attack segregated education at the graduate and professional school levels.  Houston moved from Washington to New York, where he headed the NAACP’s legal team.  A few years later, he was succeeded by Thurgood Marshall, under whom the legal team was formally incorporated as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1940.

            Case by case, the winning of equalization lawsuits in the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated many of the allegedly equal education schemes education that Southern states tried to create to conceal their subordination of Black people.  With each equalization lawsuit victory, the legal ground on which Plessy stood became narrower and narrower.  Finally, after Sweatt v. Painter, an equalization case in Texas in 1950, Marshall announced that the NAACP lawyers were ready to attack the principle of segregation.


Five Communities Change A Nation

            The first of the five cases that made up Brown v. Board of Education occurred in Clarendon County, South Carolina, where African Americans greatly outnumbered Whites, but were also greatly disadvantaged socially and  economically.  After their request for funds for a school bus was denied, several Black parents filed a lawsuit.  The local community leader, Reverend Charles De Laine, was subjected to threats of violence, and finally both his home and his church were burned down, and he was forced to flee the state after threats on his life.  It was in South Carolina that Kenneth Clark administered the doll test for the first time.  One of the three federal judges in the case dissented, but the other two reaffirmed segregation.

            The next case occurred in Topeka, Kansas, where African Americans were only 6% of the total population, and where, reflecting the mixed heritage of Kansas,  school segregation was only mandated in the larger cities.  Many Kansans did not feel deeply committed to maintaining separate schools, but until the legislature decided otherwise, the Topeka school board felt it should not change the way things were being done.  African American parents, and members of the local NAACP called in NAACP lawyers from New York to handle the case.  As in South Carolina and the other case areas, local lawyers played an important role. 

The three-judge federal panel that heard the case admitted that the African American schools of Topeka were inferior, and that Black children were probably being damaged by this inequality.  Nevertheless, in the absence of any action by the Kansas legislature or the U.S.. Supreme Court, the federal judges felt that they had no choice but to maintain the existing system.  While this case was being tried, the federal judges had sent the South Carolina case back for a rehearing in a few months, to determine whether Clarendon County school officials had begun to try to achieve equal facilities.  Thus, the Topeka case became considered the first in line, and thus gave its name to the entire set of five cases.

Like South Carolina, Prince Edward County, Virginia was rural, but more African Americans there owned their farms, and had a greater degree of economic independence.   Thus, unlike South Carolina, most of the parents who signed the petition in support of the lawsuit against the segregated schools did not lose their sources of livelihood, and the minister who led them was not subjected to violent reprisals.  The most dramatic incident was when an 11th grade female student in the all-Black Robert Russa Moton High School led a student walkout in protest against the crowded dilapidated conditions of the school.   Two NAACP attorneys from Richmond agreed to take the case in response to the students’ request, and as in the other cases, the federal judges ruled in favor of segregation, and the attorneys appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

There were two school desegregation cases in Delaware, one involving a primary school student and the other involving a high school student.  Both had to do with the fact that they had to take long bus rides past white schools to black schools that were not of equal quality.  As in the other three areas local lawyers and the local NAACP branch led the legal campaign. 

But when the case reached the Delaware courts, there was a rather different outcome.   The local state court was known as a Chancery Court, and the judge was called a Chancellor.  The Chancellor in this case ruled that the black schools were inferior and ordered them to admit the Black pupils.  One of the schools began to comply when the Delaware state attorney general indicated that he wanted to get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of desegregation. 

While the case was making its way through the federal courts, the Supreme Court itself asked the attorney general to make a petition, called a writ of certiorari, to have the case sent directly to the Supreme Court.  The justices were anxious to rule on different segregation cases from around the country, and they willingly granted the petition, and thus the two Delaware cases, one from Wilmington, and the other from Hockessin, a suburb of Wilmington, came before the Supreme Court.

Finally, in Washington, D.C., the case that finally came before the Supreme Court was so different from the others that it has been referred to as a “companion case”, as opposed to the others, which are often referred to as the four “state cases”.  However, most historians and popular writers have overlooked this technical distinction and grouped all of the cases under the term, “Brown v. Board of Education.”  Moreover, Justice Warren, in his opinion in Brown, devotes a separate paragraph to the D.C. case as part of his overall opinion, but makes it clear that the underlying principle is the same as in the other cases.

The first thing that made the case from the District of Columbia different was it was not brought by the NAACP, but by an ad hoc local civil rights organization called the Consolidated Parents Group.  Originally Charles Houston, now returned to his home city, and deeply involved in civil rights litigation, represented the African American parents in a series of lawsuits against the D.C. public schools, which were inferior principally because of overcrowding.  When Houston died in 1950 his place was taken by James Nabrit, who later became dean of Howard University Law School, and still later, president of the University.

As the attorney for the Consolidated Parents Group, Nabrit was not able to argue his case on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because it states that “no state (emphasis mine) shall deny equal protection of the laws.”   Instead, he used the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process of law to all citizens.  In using this argument, he decided to say that the only issue was segregation itself, and not whether segregation led to inequality.  Any public school segregation, he argued, even if it produced identical conditions, was a violation of due process of the law because it was imposed by the government on African Americans who had no recourse.  This was a much more daring and aggressive argument than that advanced by Thurgood Marshall and the other lawyers, but it proved successful.


The Decision: A Landmark in American Justice

            The two teams of lawyers who argued for and against segregation were not evenly

matched.   On the one hand, the defendants had the full weight of their state governments behind them.   John Davis, one of the most distinguished constitutional lawyers in the nation, was so committed to segregation that he represented the state of South Carolina pro bono.  On the other hand, the plaintiff lawyers were, with one exception, all Black, which meant that in the Washington, D.C. of that time they had to stay in segregated hotels, ride in segregated taxicabs, and eat in segregated restaurants.  They did not have access to most of the larger downtown law libraries.  Most of their arguments were prepared and rehearsed at the Howard University Law School.

            The first oral arguments before the Supreme Court presented by the civil rights attorneys were in 1952. and the following year there was another round of arguments in the Spring of 1953.  This time, the Court told both the civil rights and the segregationist lawyers that it wanted them to answer a series of six questions.  These involved the original intentions of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, and what the effect of the decision would be in 1954, and whether the Court should order gradual or immediate compliance.

            The civil rights lawyers pulled together a group of lawyers, sociologists, historians, and other academics to research the intentions of the Reconstruction-era politicians who wrote the 14th Amendment, as well as those who could assess the popular mood in the states that maintained segregated schools.  The segregationists, as might be expected, said that the framers of the 14th Amendment did not intend to set up segregated schools, while the civil rights lawyers said that it was impossible to determine from the historical record what the intentions of the framers were.  The defendant lawyers stressed to hostility and resistance to school desegregation in the South, while the plaintiff lawyers minimized any negative attitudes.

            After these arguments, the Justices went into deliberation.   Since no official minutes of their meetings was kept the only evidence of what they were thinking and saying is a few personal handwritten notes, and the personal recollections of the Justices, and of their law clerks who conversed with them after the meetings were over.

            One key factor in this story was the death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in September of 1953.  Vinson was from Kentucky and not known as an ardent supporter of integration.  Eisenhower’s appointment of Earl Warren at this juncture was probably one of the most momentous events in American history.  In retrospect, the arguments of Marshall and the other civil rights attorneys seem very persuasive to us today, but they definitely were not to some of the Justices of that era.

Justice Stanley Reed was a southerner with strong emotional ties to segregation.  Justice Hugo Black was an Alabamian who felt that segregation was unconstitutional, but who feared the reactions of his fellow Southerners.  Justice Felix Frankfurter probably played a pivotal role in assuring the some of the wavering Justices that a pro-integration decision need not be enforced immediately.  But even had Vinson been able or willing to get a favorable decision, it is highly unlikely that it would have been unanimous, or as clearly stated.

            It is perhaps Earl Warren’s greatest contribution to American history that he was able to achieve a unanimous vote on a decision that stated that segregation in public education was a violation of the U.S. Constitution.  Although we do know for sure exactly how this was achieved it is quite likely that he assured the Justices who were wavering on the issue of integration that the decision would not be implemented immediately.  Not only were many of the Justices hostile to the idea of blacks and whites mingling in the same school, but also they feared what intense opposition might do to the prestige of the court.

            Even at the time the Supreme Court’s decision of May 17, 1954 was recognized as a turning point in American history, and newspapers around the world, as well as throughout the United States noted it.  Reactions were predictable, with strongly favorable ones in the Northeast, guarded optimism in small midwestern cities like Omaha, Nebraska, and bitter condemnation in Deep South cities like Jackson, Mississippi.  From the perspective of civil rights enforcement, a unanimous decision came at the cost of lenient language in Brown II in 1955 that, coupled with the reluctance of the Eisenhower Administration, encouraged the southern segregationists to defy the federal government.  Although the Supreme Court said that Black people had the right to attend integrated schools, it also said that it was all right to postpone that right for awhile.


Legacy: The Past 50 Years

            In the mid-1950s, the American people remained deeply divided over the issue of racial equality.  As Black southerners began to test enforcement of the Court’s decision, the African American freedom struggle soon spread across the country, as other people of color, women, differently abled people, and gays and lesbians, joined the movement. The original battle for school desegregation became part a of broader campaign for social justice and a more peaceful, humane society.

            Organized resistance to school desegregation began in the South, but eventually broke out also in some Northern cities.  By the 1970s, many judges were attributing the growing process of resegregation to neighborhood racial patterns, and they declared that the courts had little power to solve what was in reality a social and psychological problem.  But many civil rights attorneys have claimed that resegregation in the public schools is due to conscious, overt intent by judges, school officials, and other politicians to preserve the separation and subordination of peoples of color.

            Changing definitions of equal educational opportunity have meant that public policy issues such as testing and classroom disciplining methods, bilingual and bicultural education, community control, and educational vouchers, to name a few, have all come to be included in discussions over the best way to achieve equal opportunity education.

            Fifty years ago, the issue of equal opportunity education was thought to mean whether white and black students should sit together in the same classroom.  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, but there is a general consensus that our country is better of with than without it.   Abroad, there is also a general recognition of the international significance of this decision as a milestone in the global struggle for human rights.  The impact of Brown v. Board of Education on America’s national consciousness is clearly demonstrated by the fact that commemorative observations are currently going on all over this country.


II. Study Areas for Brown v. Board of Education and Related Topics


Introduction:  Equal Educational Opportunity and the American Dream


Section One:   The Establishment of  Segregated Education in the USA

            Before the Civil War

                        Democratic ideals and the establishment of public education

                        Racial theories and attitudes

                        Black education in the antebellum North

                        Black education in the antebellum South

            After the Civil War   

                        The Promise of Freedom

                        Reconstruction and the failure of democracy

                        The triumph of White Supremacy

                        Separate But Equal Becomes the Law of the Land


Section Two:  Education as the Main Battleground for Equal Citizenship

            Segregation and education for second-class citizenship

                        Discriminatory education for girls

                        A discriminatory educational philosophy for children of color

            Community aspirations for quality education

                        African Americans, Japanese Americans and Chinese

                            Americans organize their own educational systems

            Legal struggles for integration

                        African American, Chinese American, and Mexican American

                          Parents fight school segregation in the courts


Section Three: An Organized Legal Campaign

            African American Leadership in the Twentieth Century

            The African American Legal Profession

            Howard University: Leadership Through Scholarship

            Charles Hamilton Houston and Legal Education

            Thurgood Marshall and the Civil Rights Movement

            The NAACP’s campaign against White privilege

            A Turning Point in 1950


Section Four: Five Communities Change A Nation

            Clarendon County, South Carolina: Bitter Resistance

            Topeka, Kansas: An Uncertain Defense of Segregation

            Farmville, Virginia: Black Students on Strike

            Wilmington, Delaware: Conflicted Reactions

            Washington, D.C.: Jim Crow in the Nation’s Capital


Section Five: The Case of the Century

            The Segregationist Lawyers

            The Civil Rights Lawyers

            The Supreme Court

            The Decision of May 17, 1954 and its impact


Section Six: The United States since Brown

            Widening visions of equal opportunity education

            Resistance to integration in the South

            The federal response

            Resistance to integration in the North

            The Black Revolution and new expectations

            The widening scope of equal education

                        Differing perspectives on the achievement of equality

                        Bilingual bicultural education

                        Voucher and other school choice programs

                        The federal “No Child Left Behind” program

            The Michigan Cases


Section Seven:

            How has Brown changed America, and where are we headed ?




III. Discussion and Study Topics


Discussion Questions


Elementary Schools


Why is it unfair to make people go to a different school because they look different?


Why is it good to have people who look different and speak differently to go to the same school?


Have you ever heard people say bad things about other people who look different or speak differently?   What did you say to them?


What is a court and how did courts bring different people together in the same school?




Middle Schools


What does the Supreme Court use as a basis for its decisions?


Why is it considered the highest court in the country?


What is “separation of powers” under the Constitution?


Why was the doctrine of “separate but equal” really not what it claimed to be?


Why was resistance to desegregation stronger in a state like South Carolina than in Kansas?


Why didn’t Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP attorney’s begin to attack segregation directly in the 1930s?


What is the difference between de facto and de jure segregation?


Why has school desegregation been so controversial during the past fifty years?




High Schools


What was Charles Houston’s philosophy of law and the legal profession?


What role did the NAACP play in organizing the case?  What were some of the special problems faced by the NAACP lawyers?


How did world events such as World War II and the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the postwar decolonization movements affect attitudes towards racial segregation in the United States?


How does a case make its way through the federal court system?


What is the difference between the way the Supreme Court interpreted the 14th Amendment in the Plessy case and the way it was interpreted in the Brown case?


What factors led to the reinterpretation?


How was social science research used by the civil rights lawyers to support their legal arguments?


What arguments did Southern school and other government officials use to defend the practice of racial segregation?


What role did Earl Warren play in the decision?  Why was a unanimous decision so important?


Why were the civil rights attorneys disappointed by Brown II?


How have Supreme Court rulings on school desegregation changed over the years?


What are some of the arguments of those who have minimized the impact of the Brown  decision?


Compare the issue of equal opportunity education in 1954 with 2004.




IV. List of Sources


Books(partially annotated)


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 community, and thereby make discoveries about themselves and their neighbors.  This book is about community history and applied anti-racist studies


Armor, David J.  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.   Proposes a new policy of “equity” choice, which draws upon the best features of both the desegregation and choice movements.  This policy would provide both desegregation and more choice for the parents of low-income minority children in urban school systems.


Balkin, Jack M.  What Brown v. Board of Education Should have Said.   New York: New York University Press, 2001   Using only materials available to the Supreme Court in 1954, but with the hindsight of historical knowledge, constitutional scholars rewrite the Brown decision as they would have liked to see it.  In so doing, they bring out some of the criticisms that have been made of the decision.


Belknap, Michal R.  Federal Law and Southern Order: Racial Violence and Constitutional Conflict in the Post-Brown South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987.   Using the argument of federalism and respect for local authority, officials in Washington consistently refused to protect African American civil rights activists from the violence of militant white racists.  Eventually, after local authorities began to take steps against racial terrorists, the federal government began to enact legislation to curb violence.


Bell, Derrick A.  And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press     A series of imaginary conversations and imaginary scenarios featuring an African American law professor and an African American woman civil rights attorney.  Explores issues of race and gender, and assesses the progress of civil rights in the past few years.


Branch, Taylor.  Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63.  New York: Simon &Schuster, Inc, 1988.    According to Branch, white American Christian theologians influenced King more than Gandhi.  This magisterial work contains extensive and startling detail on major civil rights activists, as well as political leaders like John and Robert Kennedy.  This extensive and comprehensive history won a Pulitzer Prize.


----. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.   Compiled from such diverse sources as memoirs, diaries, oral histories, and recently-revealed FBI wiretaps, this story traces the years of King’s life down to the mid-1960s, when the “Black Revolution” neared the peak of its intensity.   Figures such as the Kennedys, Malcolm X, and J. Edgar Hoover, are described as they affected the African American freedom struggle, as well as King’s personal life.


Brown, Cynthia Stokes.  Refusing Racism. White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights, New York: Teachers College Press, 2002.   What factors have motivated whites to join people of color in the struggle against white privilege?  What have they risked and what have they gained?    The stories of four white civil rights supporters reveal their personalities and social perspectives.



Child, Brenda J., Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940

(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998).


Cooper, Michael L. Indian School: Teaching the White Man’s Way. Wilmington, MA: Clarion Books, 1999.   An account of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.  Native American children from the Sioux people were subjected to systematic deculturation and forced adoption of “the white man’s way.”  Despite some successes, notably in athletics (the football star Jim Thorpe was one product), many students physically perished, while many others underwent a kind of spiritual death.  The work 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: University of Kansas Press, October, 2003.   This overview is expressly 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.


Daniel, Pete.  Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for Smithsonian Institution, 2000.  Discusses the post World War II changes in the economy and society of the South that led to the social ferment of the 1950s.  Argues that this social ferment of working class whites and African Americans opened the possibility of truly profound changes that never really took place.


Davis, Michael D., and Hunter R. Clark.  Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench. 1992


Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic. Failed Revolutions: Social Reform and the Limits of Legal Imagination. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994.  An analysis of social reform from a perspective of critical legal theory, which seeks to interpret the law in the light of a radical critique of the existing social order.  It argues that most civil rights legislation and liberal public policy programs are largely ineffective because racism, sexism, and classism are built into the structure of society.  The only solution to this problem is a radical restructuring of society.


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.  Discusses bilingual education as well as school policies designed to promote desegregation.  Says that during the 1960s and 1970s Mexican Americans in this community were politically marginalized.


Franklin, John Hope and McNeil, Genna Rae, editors.  African Americans and the Living Constitution.  Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995.   A collection of essays from a symposium presented in 1983 by the Smithsonian Institution and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  Contains essays by several major legal scholars and social scientists on both historical and contemporary issues.


Gonzalez, Gilbert G. Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation.  Philadelphia: Balch Institute Press, 1990.   Traces the twentieth-century of Chicano education into four eras; when de jure segregation was replaced by unofficial practices of separation, followed by a period of militant activism that bilingual and bicultural education, affirmative action, and other policies, which was in turn by a halt, and in some cases, a rollback of educational reforms.  Underlines the significance of the Mendez case.


Gordon­-Reed, Annette, ed.  Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.   Twelve essays on the encounters of people of color with the American legal system, from the Amistad case to the O.J. Simpson affair.  Includes the experiences of Asian Americans.


Graham, Allison.  Framing the South:  Hollywood, Television, and Race during the Civil Rights Struggle.  Baltimore:  John Hopkins University Press, 2001.


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.  Also describes his role as director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the formation of other legal defense funds.


Hyer, Sally. One House, One Voice, One Heart: Native American Education at the Santa Fe Indian School. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1990.


Jackson, John P.  Social Scientists for Justice:  Making the Case Against Segregation, New York:  New York University Press, 


Keppel, Ben.  The Work of Democracy: Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, and the Cultural Politics of Race, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995  Demonstrates how four African American intellectuals deal with racism in America from the 1930s to the 1960s.   Shows that Clark and Hansberry especially became disillusioned with the ideal of liberal integrationism.  Argues that all three had more of an impact on American thought than previously realized.


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 over 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 detail account of the five cases which came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education, as well as a few years of the aftermath.


Kousser, J. Morgan.  Dead End: The Development of Nineteenth-Century Litigation on Racial Discrimination in Schools. An Inaugural Lecture delivered before the University of Oxford on 28 February 1985,  New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.  In addition to the Roberts case, at least 82 cases were filed against segregated schools from 1837 to 1902.  Most were in the North, and at least half had favorable outcomes.


Kull, Andrew.  The Color-Blind Constitution.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.  Written from a traditional liberal viewpoint, i.e., that civil rights means basically the exclusion of any race-conscious criteria to achieve social justice.  Traces issues of race and civil rights from the framing of the Constitution down to recent Supreme Court decisions.


Martin, Waldo E.(ed.),   Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History With Documents,  Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 1998.  A comprehensive introductory essay is followed by a collection of primary sources, from a 1787 petition for inclusion of Black students in the Boston public schools, to a New York Times editorial commenting on the 40th anniversary of Brown.


McNeil, Genna Rae.  Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.   A biography of one of the central figures in the legal campaign against segregation, by a major African American historian.  Portraying him as a builder of Black institutions, McNeil effectively demonstrates how Hamilton developed Howard Law School into a center for civil rights, mentored Thurgood Marshall, helped found the black National Bar Association, and argued several key Supreme Court cases.


Morris, Vivian Gunn.  The Price They Paid: Desegregation in an African American Community, New York.,  Teachers College Press, 2002.   Tracing the course of one African American community from school segregation to desegregation, the authors document not only the gains but also the significant losses in the new situation.  Contrasts the caring and nurturing African American school with the hostile new environment in the new predominately Euro American school.


Morrison, Toni.  Remember: The Journey to School Integration.  Houghton Mifflin, New York; forthcoming, May 17, 2004.   For young people.   Black and white photographs from the author’s collection that document the events surrounding school desegregation, accompanied by the author’s interpretive text describing the emotions of the children who lived during the era of “separate-but-equal” schooling.


Motley, Constance Baker.  Equal Justice—Under Law: An Autobiography. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998.  The author describes her career from her youth in New Haven, Connecticut, as a student as Fisk University and Columbia University Law School, as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and her participation in Brown and other civil rights cases.  She was the first black woman to be appointed to a federal judgeship.


National Historic Landmarks Survey.  Racial Desegregation in Public Education in the United States: Themes Study.  U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, national Register, History and Education, August 2000.


Ogletree, Charles.  All  Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half Century of Brown v. Board of Education.  Forthcoming, 2004.  One of the writers who stresses the limits of progress since Brown.  Written by a noted civil rights attorney, a professor at Harvard Law School, and the American Bar Association’s representative on the 50th Anniversary Brown v. Board of Education Commission.


Orfield, Gary. Resegregation in American Schools.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.


-----.  Asian Students and Multiethnic Desegregation. Harvard Project on School Desegregation, October 1994. Eric Document Reproduction Service MF01/Pco2  Ed410345


Parker, Laurence; Deyhle, Donna; Villenas, Sofia; editors.  Race Is….Race Isn’t: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education.  Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.


Patterson, James T.  Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.  Traces the course of school desegregation from the years of the state-imposed segregated school systems of  the early twentieth century, through the rise of resegregation at the turn of the twentieth century.  Concludes that the legacy of Brown is mixed, largely due to social and cultural issues that the legal system may not be able to deal with.


Roediger, David R.  Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.  A contribution to the recent and rapidly-expanding field of “critical White Studies.”    Looks at the construction of whiteness, from early radical critics of American racism, to recent critical perspectives on Elvis Presley, O.J. Simpson, and Rudy Giuliani.   Argues that in spite of liberal reform programs, and changes in the use of language, the fundamental structure of white supremacist attitudes persists.


Rosenberg, Gerald N.  The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.


Salomone, Rosemary C.  Equal Education Under the Law: Legal Rights and Federal Policy Post- Brown Era.”  New York:  St. Martin’s Press,  NO YEAR.


San Miguel, Guadalupe, Jr. “Let All of Them Take Heed”: Mexican Americans and the Campaign for Educational Equality in Texas, 1910-1981. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.


_________________.  Brown,  Not White:  The School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston.  College Station:  Texas A&M University Press. 


Sarat, Austin, ed. Race, Law and Culture: Reflections on Brown v. Board of Education. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.


Schwartz, Bernard, ed. The Warren Court: A Retrospective.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.


Scott, Daryl Michael.  Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche, 1880-1996.  Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.   The title is taken from a remark made by DuBois in Souls of Black Folk on Caucasian attitudes towards African American people.   He traces how both liberals and conservatives have adopted paternalistic attitudes towards African Americans, and despite a radical revolt against this during the 1960s, there has been a recent resurgence of the damage imagery.


Smith, Bob.  They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1951-1964.  Farmville, Virginia: Martha E. Forrester, council of Women, 1996.  The only major work on the Prince Edward County Case.   Originally published in 1965, this republication, contains some recent retrospectives on the case.  The author personally knew major many of the major figures in this story.


Smith, J. Clay, editor.  Supreme Justice: Speeches and Writings of Thurgood Marshall.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.  Documents, with the author’s commentaries,  the legal thinking of Marshall outside of official court documents, from his letter of application to law school down to a speech made in 1992, just before retirement, reflecting on the current conservative trend in America.


Spann, Girardeau A. Race Against The Court: The Supreme Court and Minorities in Contemporary America.  New York: New York University Press, 1993.  A critical view of Brown, and of the Supreme Court as the guardian of minority rights.  Argues that people of color are mistaken in relying on the Court because it reflects the Euro American majority which does not want racial equality.   Views the legislative process as more effective in gaining minority rights.


Swain, Carol M.  The New White Nationalism in America: It’s Challenge to Integration.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.   An African American scholar argues that multiculturalism’s emphasis on group identity and self-determination has provoked a counter-reaction among whites that emphasizes ethnic identity, and dominance.  She argues for a strategy that emphasizes integration and a common identity based on humane spiritual values.


Tushnet, Mark V.  Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.   Traces the legal career of Marshall, from the NAACP’s early legal campaigns against school segregation, through Brown, down to the civil rights cases of the late 1950s.  Demonstrates how civil rights litigation evolved from the 1930s to the 1960s.


----. Making Constitutional Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1961-1991.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.  Traces Marshall’s career on the federal bench, and his contributions to American jurisprudence.  Discusses Marshall’s tenure on the Supreme Court, and his increasing dissents with  direction that the Court took after the passing of Earl Warren.


Wells, Amy Stuart.  Hispanic Education in America; Separate and Unequal.  ERIC/CUE Digest no. 59. 1989 EDRS MF01/PC01 ED316616


Wilhoit, Francis M.  The Politics of Massive Resistance.  New York: Braziller, 1973


Wilkinson, J. Harvie, III.  From Brown to Bakke: The Supreme Court and School Integration, 1954-1978.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.   A historical study of the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in public school desegregation, tracing legal and political barriers to integration.   Good for the period covered, but now somewhat dated.


Williams, Juan.  Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary.  New York: Random House, Inc, 1998.   A biography of the attorney known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” by a major African American journalist.  In addition to tracing Marshall’s legal career, and the historical periods in which he lived, the author explores his complex personality, and the individuals with whom he interacted.


Wilson, Paul E.  A Time To Lose: Representing Kansas in Brown v.  Board of Education.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995.  Memoirs from a retired lawyer, who as a young assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas, represented the Topeka Board of Education in the Brown case.  Gives an insider’s view of the maneuverings and indecision that led to his state’s reluctant defense of segregation.


Wollenburg, Charles.  All Deliberate Speed: Segregation and Exclusion in California Schools, 1855-1975. Berkeley: University of California Press


Wolters, Raymond.  The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School Desegregation.  (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.   A conservative critique of the aftermath of Brown in each of the five case areas.  Argues that court-enforced integration has not really produced equal opportunity education.



Newspaper and Journal Articles


Howard Law Journal, Volume 47, issue 1 (Fall, 2003).  Most of this issue is devoted to the fiftieth anniversary of Brown.


New York Times Education Life (Section 4A: January 18, 2004)  This education supplement contains four articles on the fiftieth anniversary of Brown.


Black Law Journal, Volume II, no. 2,  (Winter, 1974) Published at UCLA.  Entire issue devoted to school desegregation


Blanton, Carlos Kevin. “From Intellectual Deficiency to Cultural Deficiency: Mexican Americans, Testing, and Public School Policy in the American Southwest, 1920-1940,” 1920-1940.Pacific Historical Review, 2003, 72(1): 39-62


Contreras, Reynaldo A., and Leonard A. Valverde. “The Impact of Brown on the Education of Latinos.” Journal of Negro Education 63 (Summer 1994): 470-81.


Dudziak, Mary L., “Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative,” 41 Stanford Law Review, p. 61 (1968).


Eitle, Tamela McNulty. “Special Education or Racial Segregation: Understanding Variation in the Representation of Black Students in Educable Mentally Handicapped Programs,” Sociological Quarterly, 2002, 43(4): 575-605.


Fairfax, Roger A., Jr., “Wielding the Double-Edged Sword: Charles Hamilton Houston and Judicial Activism in the Age of Legal Realism,” Harvard Black Letter Law Journal, Volume 14, Spring, 1998, 17-44.


Forest, Benjamin, “Hidden From Segregation? The Limits of Geographically Based Affirmative Action,” Political Geography [Great Britain], 2002, 21(7): 855-880.


Grover, Linda LeGarde. “From Assimilation to Termination: The Vermillion Lake Indian School,” Minnesota History 2002-03 58(4): 224-240.
Hempstead, Katherine. “Immigration and Net Migration in New York City 1980-1990: A Small Area Analysis,” Policy Studies Journal 2002 30(1): 92-106.


Horton, James Oliver, and Michele Gates Moresi, “Roberts, Plessy, and Brown: the Long, Hard Struggle Against Segregation,” Magazine of History, 15:2, Winter, 2001, 14-16.


Hovenkamp, Herbert,  “Social Science and Segregation Before Brown,” Duke Law Journal, Volume 1985, nos. 3 & 4, (June-September): 594-672.


Kennedy, Patrick. “Nemaha County’s African-American Community,” Nebraska History, 2001, 82(1): 11-21.


Klarman, Michael J.  “How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis.” Journal of American History, 81(June 1994): 81-118.


Kohfeld, Carol W. and Sprague, John, “Race, Space, and Turnout,” Political Geography [Great Britain], 2002, 21(2): 175-193.


Limbo, Ernest M. “Religion and the Closed Society: Religious Emphasis Week, 1956, at the University of Mississippi,” Journal of Mississippi History, 2002, 64(1): 1-16.


“Legends in Law:  A Conversation With James Nabrit III,”  The Washington Lawyer,  July/ August 2001. 


Mayer, Susan E, “How Economic Segregation Affects Children’s Educational Attainment,”  Social Forces, 2002, 81(1): 153-176.


McCoy, Frank.  “Overturning The Court:  Striking Blows for African American Freedom is a Howard Law School Tradition,”  Howard Magazine,  Fall 2002:  25-31.


McQueen, Anjetta,  “Deaths of Pivotal Figures in Brown Mark Passing of Desegregation Era,”  Education Week, Volume 18 no.  8, 1 - 14.


Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin and Heath, Damien. “The Effects of Segregation on African-American High School Seniors’ Academic Achievement,” Journal of Negro Education, 1999, 68(4): 566-586.


Moore, Leonard Nathaniel. “The School Desegregation Crisis of Cleveland, Ohio, 1963-1964: The Catalyst for Black Political Power in a Northern City,” Journal of Urban History, 2002, 28(2): 135-157.

Munoz, Laura K. “Separate But Equal? A Case Study of Romo v. Laird and Mexican-American Education,” Magazine of History, 2001, 15(2): 28-35.


Newman, Mark. “The Louisiana Baptist Convention and Desegregation, 1954-1980,” Louisiana History 2001 42(4): 389-418.


Parker, Gail and Marlin Smith,  “Bibliography on School Desegregation and the South, 1954-1979,” Southern Exposure, 1979, 7(2): 156-160.


Sanders, Joseph, et. al., “The Relevance of ‘Irrelevant’ Testimony: Why Lawyers Use Social Science Experts in School Desegregation Cases,” Law and Society Review, 1981-82, 16(3): 403-428


Shircliffe, Barbara, “’We Got the Best of That World:’ A Case Study of Nostalgia in the Oral History of School Segregation,” Oral History Review, 2001, 28(2): 59-84.


Smith, J. Clay, Jr., and E. Desmond Hogan, “Remembered Hero, Forgotten Contribution: Charles Hamilton Houston, Legal Realism and Labor Law,” Harvard Black Letter Law Journal, Volume 14, Spring, 1998, 1-17.


Stretesky, Paul B. and Lynch, Michael J. “Environmental Hazards and School Segregation in Hillsborough County, Florida, 1987-1999,” Sociological Quarterly, 2002, 43(4): 553-573.


Tisdale, John R. “Don’t Stone Her until You See Her:’ New England Editors and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission’s Public Relations Campaign of 1956,” Journal of Mississippi History, 2002, 64(3): 168-187.


Ulmer, S. Sidney.  “Earl Warren and the Brown Decision,” Journal of Politics, 1971 33(3): 689-702

Wild, Mark. “’So Many Children at Once and So Many Kinds:’ Schools and Ethno-Racial Boundaries in Early Twentieth Century Los Angeles,” Western Historical Quarterly,  2002, 33(4): 453-476.
Wilson, Steven H.; Gross, Ariela J., (commentary). “Brown Over ‘Other White:’ Mexican Americans’ Legal Arguments and Litigation Strategy in School Desegregation Lawsuits,” Law and History Review, 2003, 21(1): 145-194.


Woods, Barbara.  “Modjeska Simkins and the South Carolina Conference of the NAACP, 1939- 1957.”  Women in  the Civil Rights Movement.  NO PUBLISHER OR YEAR.

Magazine of History [Organization of American Historians], 15:2, Winter, 2001.  Entire issue devoted to school desegregation.





The Lemon Grove Incident.  Paul Espinosa, producer.  Frank Christopher, director.  58 min, Documentary.  Cinema Guild, 1985.  Videocassette. Segregation of Mexican American children in California


Simple Justice.  Produced by Judy Crichton.  Developed by Avon Kirkland.  Adapted from the historical study of the same name by Richard Kluger.  New Video version, 1 hr., 45 min.  PBS new version, 2003.


In Pursuit of Freedom and Equality: Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, 27 min., The Brown Foundation, Topeka, Kansas


The Intolerable Burden.  From First Run Icarus Films.  Directed by Chea Prince, produced by  Constance Curry.  In 1968, a  sharecropper couple in Mississippi enrolled their children in a previously all-white school.  This documentary explores their experiences as an example of the increasingly prevalent pattern of segregation, desegregation, and resegregation throughout the United States.  56 minutes. Color. 2003. 


Thurgood Marshall.  A biography by the A & E network. February, 2000


Thurgood Marshall.  By NTSE, February, 2002, color


A Case for Equality: Reading, Writing and Resistance.  Produced by the National Park Service, 12 minutes


Mamie Tape and the Struggle for Equality in Education. Produced by Loni Ding... The story of the segregation of a Chinese American child in the public schools of San Francisco in 1883.  30 min. (?)   1999. 

Ancestors in America Series.


Mendez v. Westminster (Para Todos Los Ninos).  A school desegregation lawsuit on behalf of Mexican American children in Orange County, California.  30 minutes.





Annotated list of websites

on Brown v. Board of Education, school desegregation,

and equal educational opportunity


Teaching Brown: Reflections on Pedagogical Opportunities

An essay on some of the challenges and opportunities in presenting the school desegregation case in the classroom, by a group of scholars who are part of a national dialogue on the problems of teaching the civil rights movement.


National Constitution Center, Kids Corner

Describes why Brown is so important for kids, briefly talks about the history of “separate but equal” (mentions 1896), uses statements from the Court, links to Cornell Law School citations of Supreme Court decisions.



Remembering Jim Crow

Published by American Public Radio, created by Stephen Smith, Kate Ellis, and Sasha Aslanian.  APR is a division of Minnesota Public Radio and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A documentary history of racial segregation.   Contains several subsections, each of which has text, sideshow and audio clips.  A book and CD available.


Teaching to Change LA

Teaching to Change LA is an online journal of IDEA, UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access.  To commemorate the 50th anniversary, IDEA will partner with teachers and students to teach the legacy of Brown by telling the story of the last half century of struggle for educational justice.  Contemporary issues, as well as a recent civil rights lawsuit over unequal educational opportunities will be discussed.


Brown v. Board of Education

Published by the National Park Service.  Created by Deborah Riley.  Contains information about the NPS national historic site in Topeka, current events and activities educational publications, and historical information on the Supreme Court case.  A CD is available.


Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools

A website for the activities of the 50th anniversary sponsored by the Montgomery County, Maryland Public School District.  They are divided into events up to the May 17, 2004 date, and after.


From Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education: The Supreme Court Rules on Desegregation.

Published by the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute, a cooperative program between Yale University and the New Haven public schools.  Compiled by Karen Wolff.  This is a 14-week lesson plan for a unit on the U.S. Supreme Court, desegregation, and the American legal system.



Brown versus Board of Education

A one-page article that contains several links.


Encarta Africana: Brown v. Board of Education

Part of the online encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates. An informative article by Kate Tuttle, but no links.


Landmark Cases, The Supreme Court – Brown v Board of Education   Presented by Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society.   This section contains:   Background and summaries on three different reading levels; also;  Diagrams of how the cases moved through the court system; Excerpts from the majority (and where appropriate) the dissenting opinions; and Links to the full text of the Supreme Court's decisions


Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 40 Years Later

In 1993 the Woodstock Theological Center sponsored a forum on the progress of African American education since Brown.  Discussants included; Samuel Harvey, Jr., vice president for urban affairs at Georgetown University; Dr. Floretta Dukes McKenzie, former Superintendent of Schools in the District of Columbia; and Roger Wilkins, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University.  The moderator Jim Vance, journalist and anchor for News 4, WRC-TV in Washington, D.C..


Brown v. Board of Education

School desegregation in New Orleans


Brown v. Topeka Board of Education

A very outstanding website created by the students of Ross Valley Junior High School, in Topeka, Kansas, with many graphics, references and narratives.


The Legal Information Institute

This site is maintained by the School of Law of Cornell University, and is a very rich source of information on civil rights law.


Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

The full text of the opinion


In Pursuit of Freedom and Equality

A very rich website maintained by the Brown Foundation of Topeka, Kansas.  Contains issues of Brown Foundation newsletter, student activities, a virtual exhibition, and historical information.


Teaching With Documents: Brown v. Board of Education

A site maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.  Contains images of documents along with bibliographies and lesson plans, at several grade levels.


1954-2004 Brown 50

The Institute for Public Service and Policy Research of the University of South Carolina has embarked on a two-year project to mark the 50th anniversary of Brown.  Various materials will be published.  Lists USC faculty who specialize in civil rights.


Horizons of Opportunities: Celebrating 50 Years of Brown v. Board of Education

Website maintained by the National Education Association.  Contains extensive material, including historical information, information on recent issues teachers’ guides, and links to several other sites.


Brown v. Board of Education Books for Children


Brown v. Board of Education: 50 Years

Website of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.  Lists activities of the Fund, along with chronology of cases


Brown v. Board of Education, 1954.  An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Children’s and Young Adult Books

Compiled by the University of Illinois at Urbana.  Lists: works on the Supreme Court decision, as well as on school segregation generally.  Includes works of non-fiction, as well as fiction.


Landmark Cast Biography: Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)

Biographical sketch, lesson plans at three reading levels, bibiliography, diagram of how a case moves through the federal courts.







Friend of the Court Brief Submitted in Brown v. Board

Brief on Behalf of American Civil Liberties Union. the American Ethical Union, the American Jewish Committee , the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'Rith, the Japanese American Citizens League and the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice, as amici curiae.



Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary, May 1954-May 2004

The University of Kentucky commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.  A List of Resources includes organization sponsoring activities, an annotated chronology of the case, and selected publications and documents.  There is also a list of various events around the country in observance of the 50th anniversary.


Brown v.  Board of Education

A PowerPoint slide show


National Conference on Law and Higher Education

On February 14, 2004, Stetson College of Law, in Gulfport, Florida will host a symposium on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education


Cultural Frameworks for Civil Liberties

A lecture series commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, presented by the American Studies Department of the University of Iowa.  Programs go from September 5, 2003 through April 14, 2004


And a Child Shall Lead Them

A play, written by Brian Grandison and directed by Jack Reuler, inspired by the events of Brown v. Board of Education.   Includes a study guide by Emilie Shields. Presented by Stages Theater Company.  Includes bibliography and websites.


African American Cultural Center, University of North Carolina

Will feature a series of events commemorating Brown, beginning on September 12, 2003, and ending on May 17, 2004.


The Civil Rights Project of Harvard University

The Civil Rights Project generates, synthesizes and publishes research on key civil rights issues and policies, including several issues on higher education, bilingualism, educational diversity, and affirmative action.




The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) is the nation's premier civil rights coalition, and has coordinated the national legislative campaign on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.  It advocates for a number of equal educational opportunity issues.


School Desegregation and Prejudice in the United States

A curriculum unit prepared by the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute


Recent Changes in School Desegregation

Monograph published by  ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education. (April, 1998)


Taking a Look at School Desegregation

Janet Ward Schofield, professor of psychology and senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh, authored an article in

University Times, 35:11, February 6, 2003.


School Desegregation and Poverty

An article by Gordon K. Mantler on school desegregation in North Carolina.  Duke University, December, 2002


A Blow to Equal Opportunity Education

Point of View Essay by Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Professor, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, published as an op-ed in The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), October 26, 2001

Brown at  50: Howard University Law School

Howard’s School of Law is presenting a series of programs culminating in an observance on May  17.   This website also lists other events around the country, and contains other information.