e-Duke Books

Perhaps more than any other Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision declaring the segregation of public schools unconstitutional, highlighted both the possibilities and the limitations of American democracy. This collection of sixteen original essays by historians and legal scholars takes the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown to reconsider the history and legacy of that landmark decision. From the Grassroots to the Supreme Court juxtaposes oral histories and legal analysis to provide a nuanced look at how men and women understood Brown and sought to make the decision meaningful in their own lives.

The contributors illuminate the breadth of developments that led to Brown, from the parallel struggles for social justice among African Americans in the South and Mexican, Asian, and Native Americans in the West during the late nineteenth century to the political and legal strategies implemented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (naacp) in the twentieth century. Describing the decision’s impact on local communities, essayists explore the conflict among African Americans over the implementation of Brown in Atlanta’s public schools as well as understandings of the ruling and its relevance among Puerto Rican migrants in New York City. Assessing the legacy of Brown today, contributors analyze its influence on contemporary law, African American thought, and educational opportunities for minority children.


Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Davison M. Douglas

Raymond Gavins

Laurie B. Green

Christina Greene

Blair L. M. Kelley

Michael J. Klarman

Peter F. Lau

Madeleine E. Lopez

Waldo E. Martin Jr.

Vicki L. Ruiz

Christopher Schmidt

Larissa M. Smith

Patricia Sullivan

Kara Miles Turner

Mark V. Tushnet

  • Constitutional Conflicts
Series editor(s): 
  • Neal Devins
  • Mark A. Graber
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