Newsweek: Why Brown Seems a BustRoundup: Talking About History
Ellis Cose, in Newsweek (May 17, 2004):
Sometimes history serves as a magnifying mirrormaking momentous what actually was not. But Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, is the real thing: a Supreme Court decision that fundamentally and forever changed America. It jump-started the modern civil-rights movement and excised a cancer eating a hole in the heart of the Constitution.
So why is the celebration of its 50th anniversary so bittersweet? Why, as we raise our glasses, are there tears in our eyes? The answer is simple: Brown, for all its glory, is something of a bust.
Clearly Brown altered forever the political and social landscape of an in-sufficiently
conscience-stricken nation. "Brown led to the sit-ins, the freedom marches
... the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ... If you look at Brown as ... the icebreaker
that broke up ... that frozen sea, then you will see it was an unequivocal success,"
declared Jack Greenberg, former head of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational
Fund Inc. and one of the lawyers who litigated Brown. Still, measured purely
by its effects on the poor schoolchildren of color at its center, Brown is a
disappointmentin many respects a failure. So this commemoration is muted
by the realization that Brown was not nearly enough.
While most white and Hispanic Americans (59 percent for each group) think their community schools are doing a good or excellent job, only 45 percent of blacks feel that way, according to an exclusive NEWSWEEK Poll. That is up considerably from the 31 percent who thought their schools were performing well in 1998, but it means a lot of people are still unhappy with the deck of skills being dealt to black kids.
Only 38 percent of blacks think those schools have the resources necessary to provide a quality education, according to the poll. And African-Americans are not alone in feeling that funding should increase. A majority of the members of all ethnic groups support the notion that schools attended by impoverished minority children ought to have equivalent resources to those attended by affluent whites. Indeed, most Americans go even further. They say schools should be funded at "whatever level it takes to raise minority-student achievement to an acceptable national standard." Sixty-one percent of whites, 81 percent of Hispanics and a whopping 93 percent of blacks agree with that statementwhich is to say they agree with the proposition of funding schools at a level never seriously countenanced by the political establishment: a total transformation of public education in the United States....
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Humans Hard-Wired to Teach, Anthropologist Says
- Parents outraged after students shown ‘white guilt’ cartoon for Black History Month
- Maryland is once again considering retiring its state song
- One of the last remaining Nazis goes on trial in Germany
- Inside story finally told of the young US diplomat who cracked the case of the murder of 4 nuns in El Salvador in 1980
- Historian at the center of Sanders-Clinton debate
- James Loewen Says Additional Baltimore Confederate Statues Should be Removed
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- A historian’s advice to students thinking of getting a PhD in a tough economic climate
- German historian Heinz Richter cleared of charges