ERIC Number: EJ852571
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: 1
"Brown:" The Historical-Legal Antecedents
Engl, Margaret; Permuth, Steven B.; Wonder, Terri K.
International Journal of Educational Reform, v12 n4 p325-335 Fall 2003
In the "Columbia Law Review," Harry Jones (1974) illustrates five general and sometimes overlapping purposes of the law. They include the preservation of the public peace and safety, the settlements of individual disputes, the maintenance of security expectations, the resolutions of conflicting social interests, and the channeling of social change. Of those purposes, perhaps no case in legal history has directed the course of social change in the United States more than the case of "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka" (347 U.S. 483, 1954). In addition, as conversations with South African educators witness, the case also maintains international significance for nations and peoples who have functioned under apartheid-like systems with laws reminiscent of the United States' own Jim Crow social policy, dismantled after the rendering of the "Brown" decision. As everyone moves to the golden anniversary of the decision next year on May 17, 2004, it is important to showcase the decision and the Supreme Court's rationale, if only for the simple reason that the unanimous decision still resonates not only as a decision heralding the desegregation of schools under the "separate but equal" doctrine of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but also the issues of racial equality and equity that extend beyond the case itself. This article, the first in a series, traces a history of education and case law at the Supreme Court level through the emergence of the "Brown" case on the dockets of the U.S. Supreme Court. A second article published in a later issue will explicate and remark upon the case itself; and a third will examine the post-"Brown" impact in which the substance and rationale of the Court have extended "rights" beyond the scope of "Brown" into other areas of education reform and social consciousness. The ultimate question of this series involves what was, is, and will be the legacy of arguably the most important legal case of the 20th century.
Descriptors: Racial Segregation, Educational History, Social Change, Educational Change, Court Litigation, African Americans, Racial Discrimination, Blacks, School Desegregation, Social Justice, Equal Education, Civil Rights, Social Attitudes, Chinese Americans, Minority Groups, War, World History
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Brown v Board of Education; Plessy v Ferguson