Brown v. Board of Education Finally Realized in One City

ClevelandMSOn May 14, 2016, more than 60 years after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education   decision, the junior high and high schools in my hometown of Cleveland, MS were ordered to integrate to end segregation of the public schools. One may recall Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case that declared that the “separate but equal” doctrine promulgated by Plessy v. Ferguson did indeed violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

brownvedAs reported in the New York Times, this “case began with an action filed on July 24, 1965, on behalf of 131 children. The suit accused the Bolivar County Board of Education and some of its members of operating public schools on a racially segregated basis. The Cleveland School District is part of Bolivar County. . . . In her decision, Judge Debra M. Brown said, ‘Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.’”  Immediately after the decision, the Cleveland School District voted to appeal this decision, so this case still may not be over.

For further readings on the background of Brown v. Board of Education, try these books:

Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality. 1st Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 2004.

BrownvEdbookPatterson, James T. Brown V. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Rountree, Clarke. Brown V. Board of Education At Fifty: A Rhetorical Perspective. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005.

And, for further readings on the impact of Brown v. Board of Education, start with these articles:

Gooden, Mark A., and Dana N. Thompson Dorsey. “The Distorted Looking Glass: Examining How Housing Identity Privilege Obviates The Goals Of “Brown V. Board Of Education” At 60.” Educational Administration Quarterly 50.5 (2014): 764-782.

López, Gerardo R., and Rebeca Burciaga. “The Troublesome Legacy Of “Brown V. Board Of Education.” Educational Administration Quarterly 50.5 (2014): 796-811.

McNeal, Laura R. “The Re-Segregation Of Public Education Now And After The End Of “Brown V. Board Of Education.” Education And Urban Society 41.5 (2009): 562-574.

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