A Case in Point
Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality
By Richard Kluger, Vintage Books, April 2004, 865 pp., $24.00, trade paperback, 1-4000-3061-7
Simple Justice is described as the definitive history of the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education and the epic struggle for racial equality in this country. Combining intensive research with original interviews with surviving participants, Richard Kluger provides the fullest possible view of the human and legal drama in the years before 1954, the cumulative assaults on the White power structure that defended segregation, and the step-by-step establishment of a team of inspired Black lawyers that could successfully challenge the law. Now, on the 50th anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision that ended legal segregation, Kluger has updated his work with a new final chapter covering events and issues that have arisen since the book was first published, including developments in civil rights and recent cases involving affirmative action, which rose directly out of Brown v. Board of Education.
Richard Kluger worked as a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and the New York Herald Tribune before entering book publishing, where he served as executive editor at Simon and Schuster and editor in chief at Atheneum.
After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation
By Dr. Charles Clotfelter, Princeton University Press, June 2004,216 pp., $24.95 cloth, ISBN 0-691-11911-2
The United States Supreme Court’s 1954 landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, set into motion a process of desegregation that would eventually transform American public schools. This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of how Brown’s most visible effect — contact between students of different racial groups — has changed over the 50 years since the decision. Using both published and unpublished data on school enrollments from across the country, Dr. Charles Clotfelter uses measures of interracial contact, racial isolation and segregation to chronicle the changes. He goes beyond previous studies by drawing on heretofore unanalyzed enrollment data covering the first decade after Brown, calculating segregation for metropolitan areas rather than just school districts, accounting for private schools, presenting recent information on segregation within schools, and measuring segregation in college enrollment.
Dr. Charles T. Clotfelter is a professor of public policy at Duke University.
All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the
First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education
By Charles Ogletree, W.W. Norton, April 2004, 416 pp.,
$25.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-393-058972
In All Deliberate Speed, Charles Ogletree examines the personal ramifications of the Brown v. Board decision for him and his family — his childhood in the wake of the decision, his student days at Stanford and Harvard Law, his immersion in the Boston busing crisis — and its meaning for all Americans. Presenting a vivid pageant of historical characters including Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Earl Warren, Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, Ogletree discusses the ambivalence of our judicial system, the increasing legal challenges to affirmative action, and the issue of reparations.
Charles Ogletree is a professor at Harvard Law School.
The Failures Of Integration: How Race and Class
Are Undermining the American Dream
By Sheryll Cashin, Perseus Books, March 2004,
320 pp., $26.00 hardcover, 1-58648-124-X
The Failures of Integration is a provocative look at how segregation by race and class is ruining American democracy. Only a small minority of the affluent are truly living the American Dream, complete with attractive, job-rich suburbs, reasonably low taxes, good public schools and little violent crime. For the remaining majority of Americans, segregation comes with stratospheric costs. In a society that sets up “winner” and “loser” communities and schools defined by race and class, racial minorities in particular are locked out of the “winner” column. African Americans bear the heaviest burden. Cashin argues that we need a transformation — a jettisoning of the now ingrained assumption that separation is acceptable — in order to solve the riddle of inequality in America. Our public policy choices must be premised on an integrationist vision if we are to achieve our highest aspiration and pursue the dream that America says it embraces: full and equal opportunity for all.
Sheryll Cashin, who served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, is a professor of law at Georgetown University.
Toward Humanity and Justice: The Writings of Kenneth B. Clark Scholar of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Decision
By Woody Klein, Foreword by Dr. John Hope Franklin, Praeger
Publishers, March 2004, 336 pp., $79.95, ISBN: 0-275-97509-6
This first collection of Black psychologist Dr. Kenneth B. Clark’s body of work over a half-century reveals his insight into the fields of social science, education, politics and the law. He tells the inside story of the groundbreaking studies he made of Black public school children — showing they lacked self-esteem because they were treated separately and differently than their White counterparts. His social science papers were the basis for the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision of May 17, 1954, that state-sponsored segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Woody Klein is an award-winning author, journalist and former adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
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