Jim Crow's Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision

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Penguin, 2002 - Education - 376 pages
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In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court sounded the death knell for school segregation with its decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. So goes conventional wisdom. In fact, writes award-winning historian Peter Irons, today many of our schools are even more segregated than they were on the day when Brown was decided. Irons shows how the Court's rulings during the past three decades have revived the Jim Crow system in schools across the country, and how the "resegregation" of American education has contributed to persistent racial gaps in academic skills. In this book, Irons explores the 150-year struggle against Jim Crow education. He weaves a gripping drama from courtroom battles that began with the first case, filed in Boston in 1849, through the victory of NAACP lawyers in Brown, to the erosion of that decision in Supreme Court rulings in the 1990s. Irons paints vivid portraits of lawyers and judges such as Thurgood Marshall, John W. Davis, Felix Frankfurter, and Earl Warren, as well as captivating sketches of black children like Sarah Roberts in 1849, Linda Brown in 1954, and Kalima Jenkins in 1995, whose parents joined lawsuits against Jim Crow schools.

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Jim Crow's children: the broken promise of the Brown decision

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For this work, yet another excellent study by Irons (political science, Univ. of California, San Diego; A People's History of the Supreme Court), the moral is the message in the title. Irons does ... Read full review


Cut Yer Thumb er Finger Off i
Forcibly Ejected from Said Coach
We Got a Good Bunch of Nigras Here
Give Me the Colored Doll
We Are Tired of Tar Paper Shacks
I Thanked God Right Then and There
Study Hard and Accept the Status Quo
We Only Took a Little Liberty
Too Much Deliberation and Not Enough Speed
Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?
Two CitiesOne White the Other Black
Too Swift and Too Soon
Doing the White Mans Thing
The Courts Ruling Remains Unfulfilled
conclusion The Goal Is Quality Education
Suggested Readings and Chapter Sources

We Cannot Turn the Clock Back
War Against the Constitution

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About the author (2002)

Peter Irons is professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of five previous award-winning books. The most recent, A People's History of the Supreme Court, was awarded the Silver Gavel Certificate of Merit by the American Bar Association.

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