ERIC Number: EJ704083
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May-20
Reference Count: N/A
Brown at 50: Keeping Promises
Wu, Frank H.
Black Issues in Higher Education, v21 n7 p50 May 2004
The story of Brown is compelling. Blacks and Whites alike understood that the Jim Crow system of "separate but equal" was a convenient fiction. There was no actual effort to ensure that Whites and Blacks were provided the same services. Invariably, the White schools had higher funding, better buildings, newer supplies and so on. Indeed, in many instances there was simply no Black counterpart offered, and Southern states actually paid to send talented African Americans to school elsewhere. Before he was appointed to the bench, Thurgood Marshall led the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in a lengthy struggle to undo "separate but equal." With a network of volunteers who were literally risking their lives, he traveled to often hostile courtrooms where they were successful as no other team of lawyers had been before or has been since. Today, Americans still face the dilemma of nice principles, and mean practices. They wish racial integration would appear automatically or naturally. Residential segregation has been increasing, not decreasing; educational outcomes continue to show disparities. The unanimous opinion overruling racial segregation is perhaps the most important legal case in our nation's history, but it deserves to be given real meaning rather than mere praise. As difficult as it was to form a consensus against racial discrimination, it has proven even more challenging to take affirmative action against racial disparities. "Call me a curmudgeon," says Frank H. Wu, the author of this article, and a professor of law at Howard University, " but I'm skeptical when everyone celebrates--especially if we applaud civil rights advances that have been hard-fought and may not yet be fully secured."
Descriptors: African American Students, Whites, Racial Integration, Equal Education, Racial Segregation, Civil Rights, Court Litigation, Racial Discrimination, School Desegregation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States