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    Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

    Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that mandated the desegregation of U.S. schools, is popularly seen as a hallmark of American justice. But Irons, author of May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution and professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, surveys recent U.S. history to reveal a quite different picture: many states have found ways to delay implementation of, or totally evade, the ruling. Further, in response to the often violent battles around school busing and a clear rise of conservatism in the country, Irons argues that in 1991 the court began "judicial burial" of Brown by setting precedents that continued to allow segregated schools. Irons supplies fascinating and vital contexts for his narrative, beginning with examples of how slave literacy was clearly connected to slave revolts and other demands for freedom. He looks in detail at how the politics of nominating Supreme Court justices have affected the ongoing battle for desegregation; he also provides a detailed analysis of how, in 1948, Thurgood Marshall worked to secure legal access for African-Americans to graduate schools in states that bordered the South, then built upon those decisions toward Brown. Gripping stories of internecine Supreme Court battles as well as the "war against the constitution" waged by Southern politicians who defied Brown punctuate this account, which ends with a cogent overview of recent studies indicating the win-win benefits of integration. Download Link
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