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Brown v. Board of Education

School Life, Before and After 'Brown'

George Hayes, Thurgood Marshall and James Nabrit in front of the Supreme Court, 1954
George Hayes, Thurgood Marshall and James Nabrit in front of the Supreme Court, 1954.
Photo: Cass Gilbert/Corbis

For some insight on segregation, integration and race relations, NPR's Tavis Smiley talks with a man who has experience in what kids thought back during the days of segregation, and what they think today. Dale Cushinberry was a student at an all-black school in Topeka from 1952 to 1956 -- before and after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. He's now the principal of Highland Park High School in Topeka.

» Commentary: After 'Brown,' More School Choice Needed


Avon Kirkland: Interviewing Thurgood Marshall

In 1989, television producer Avon Kirkland recorded a rare interview with Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The Tavis Smiley Show producer Roy Hurst chats with Kirkland about his rare interview with Marshall. May 20, 2004


Museum Exhibit Explores Impact of 'Brown'

Reporter Allison Keyes walks us through an exhibit at the California African American Museum that explores the impact of the Brown decision. May 20, 2004


Busing's Turbulent Legacy in Boston, Mass.

Boston's desegregation battles began 20 years after Brown with the 1974 order by a federal judge to bus black and white students across town to achieve racial balance. But the result was years of violence and lingering questions about the objectives of this grand experiment. The Tavis Smiley Show senior editor Phillip Martin reports. May 19, 2004


'Brown' Plaintiff John Stokes' Virginia Student Strike

Brown v. the Board of Education was actually an umbrella lawsuit including a number of cases challenging school segregation, and not just the case originating in Topeka, Kan. John Stokes was one of the plaintiffs covered under the Brown litigation. He helped lead a student strike of an all-black school because of wretched building conditions. As a result, a federal school integration case known as Davis v. Prince Edward County, Virginia was filed, and became a part of Brown. NPR's Tavis Smiley talks with Stokes.May 19, 2004


Education Secretary Rod Paige on Legacy of 'Brown'

NPR's Tavis Smiley speaks with the highest education official in the land, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, about so-called "resegregation", as well as the Bush administration's signature schools program, the controversial "No Child Left Behind Act." May 19, 2004


'With All Deliberate Speed': Film Recalls 'Brown'

Chicago filmmaker Peter Gilbert discusses his latest documentary, With All Deliberate Speed. The movie takes a look at how Brown v. Board of Education is impacting education and society 50 years later. Gilbert also produced Hoop Dreams, a documentary that followed the lives of two inner-city African-American basketball prodigies. May 18, 2004


Charles Ogletree: 'All Deliberate Speed' to Desegregation

NPR's Tavis Smiley talks to Harvard law professor and civil rights attorney Charles Ogletree about his new book on Brown v. Board of Education, All Deliberate Speed. May 18, 2004


Roots of Racial Justice in South Carolina

The odyssey of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling began when a rural farmer named Levi Pearson in Clarendon County, S.C., filed a lawsuit demanding equal resources for black school children. That lawsuit led to another case that would be combined into the landmark 1954 Brown decision. Hear a two-part report from Day to Day producer Christopher Johnson. May 17-18, 2004


Crossing the Color Line

Fifty years ago, a Supreme Court decision ended the policy of segregated schools. But young African-Americans made it happen, one previously all-white school after another. Hear former students' stories of crossing the color line, in a special broadcast from T.C Williams High School in Virginia. May 17, 2004


'Brown v. Board:' Letters to Eisenhower

In a turning point in American history, the Supreme Court ruled 50 years ago that separate educational facilities for blacks were inherently unequal. A look at how Americans reacted, through the letters they wrote to their president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. May 17, 2004


Program Lets Teens Relive History of 'Brown'

The legacy of Brown v. Board of Education is still being played out in U.S. public schools -- but many young people may not realize it. WCPN reporter Renita Jablonski explores a theatrical program in Cleveland, Ohio, that allows teens to relive history through oral interpretation May 17, 2004


'Brown' Lawyer Jack Greenberg

NPR's Tavis Smiley speaks with Jack Greenberg, a member of the band of lawyers who argued the many desegregation cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education. Greenberg is now a professor of law at Columbia Law School and author of Crusaders in the Courts: Legal Battles of the Civil Rights Movement. May 17, 2004


'Brown' Plaintiff's Daughter on Ruling's Legacy

On the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, The Tavis Smiley Show begins a week-long look at the history and impact of the case. President Bush visits Topeka, Kan., on Monday to dedicate a new national historic site built in large part by the Brown Foundation. Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the lead plaintiff in the case and the head of the Brown Foundation, speaks with NPR's Tavis Smiley about the history and legacy of the case ending "separate but equal" school facilities. May 17, 2004


Separate But Unequal

In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns led students in a rural Virginia county on an historic walkout to protest overcrowding at their all-black school. The resulting court case became part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling 50 years ago, in which the Supreme Court declared segregation unconstitutional. NPR's Juan Williams has a two-part report on the legacy of events at Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Va. May 13, 2004


'The Failures of Integration'

In a three-part series, NPR's Michele Norris explores how communities have changed since the Brown ruling, from education to housing. She also talks with former U.S. marshals who were recruited to carry out desegregation orders in the 1950s and '60s.
» Part 1: Georgetown University Law Professor Sheryll Cashin
» Part 2: Parker High: Integration's Unfulfilled Promise
» Part 3: U.S. Marshals, Breaking the Color Barrier
May 4-6, 2004


'Brown' and Disabled Children

Prior to the 1970s, children with disabilities seeking education could not attend public schools. Lawyers went to court using the Brown decision and argued that disabled children deserved the same equal education that black children won years earlier. NPR's Joseph Shapiro reports. April 25, 2004


Fifty Years After 'Brown v. Board of Education'

Half a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregation in schools. Yet patterns of housing and immigration have created in many areas schools that are extremely segregated. NPR's Claudio Sanchez and NPR's Ina Jaffe report from California for a five-part series looking at school segregation in America, then and now. April 5, 2004


Segregation in Modern-Day California

In many areas, housing and immigration patterns have created schools that are extremely segregated. In a four-part series, NPR's Claudio Sanchez and NPR's Ina Jaffe report from California, where the level of segregation is as intense as any in 1954. March-April 2004


William Winter and the Education of Mississippi

NPR's Scott Simon talks with former Mississippi Gov. William Winter. During his years in office, from 1980 to 1984, Gov. Winter overhauled an impoverished state's educational system and addressed desegregation. Feb. 28, 2004


Teachers Weigh the Impact of 'Brown' Decision

Katherine Butler and Addie Laws attended segregated schools and later taught in them. Both stayed in education long enough to see the changes that came over the decades. They reflect on what was gained -- and what was lost -- in the societal transformation brought on by the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. Jessica Jones of WUNC reports. Dec. 13, 2003


Separate But Equal?

In Brown v. the Board of Education, the legal question was whether the court was right in 1896 when it ruled that segregation of the races met the 14th Amendment's demand for equal protection under the law. NPR's Nina Totenberg reports. Dec. 12, 2003


The Doll Man

In the 1940s, psychologist Kenneth Clark and his wife Mami conducted experiments recording black children's responses to black and white dolls. NPR's Margot Adler reports on the story of the experiments, which came to be a symbol -- and a lightning rod -- for the social science research cited by the Supreme Court in the Brown decision. Dec. 11, 2003


Before Desegregation: The Education Migration

In Clinton, La., some parents sent their children to live with relatives in the North or West so they could avoid Jim Crow laws. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports on the ramifications among the generation who stayed, and those who left. Dec. 9, 2003


The Supreme Court and 'Brown v. Board of Ed.'

As the 50th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education approaches, NPR presents a series of reports examining the monumental decision and its legacy. In a three-part series for All Things Considered, NPR's Nina Totenberg looks behind the scenes at the Supreme Court deliberations that produced the 1954 unanimous ruling that struck down the nation's "separate but equal" doctrine. Dec. 8, 2003


Thurgood Marshall and 'Brown v. Board of Education'

NPR's Juan Williams traces the story of Thurgood Marshall, who led the fight to desegregate public schools and later went on to become the first African American on the Supreme Court. Hear extended interviews with Marshall's former NAACP colleagues. Dec. 8, 2003


The Supreme Court's 'Brown' Deliberations

In a three-part story, NPR's Nina Totenberg reviews the cases -- and the politics of the Supreme Court -- that led up to the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling. Read Chief Justice Earl Warren's handwritten draft opinion. Dec. 8-10, 2003



Web Resources:

Library of Congress: Legacy of 'Brown v. Board of Education'


   
   
   
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Commentary on the Legacy of 'Brown'

Commentators' Roundtable on 'Brown'
NPR's Tavis Smiley talks with commentators Connie Rice, Cornel West, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Michael Eric Dyson on the past, present and future implications of the landmark Supreme Court ruling.
» Day One
» Day Two
» Day Three
» Day Four
» Day Five
'Justice Talking': Race in America's Schools
Guests Charles Ogletree and Armstrong Williams debate the legacy of the Brown decision and inner-city schools.
After 'Brown,' More School Choice Needed
Commentator Michelle Bernard advocates greater school choice to level the educational playing field for blacks in troubled schools.
'Mendez' Case Set Stage for 'Brown'
Before Brown, there was Mendez. Commentator Carlos Munoz shares the story of the case that set the precedent for desegregation.
'Brown' and Historically Black Schools
Commentator Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, talks about the ruling's legacy on historically black colleges and universities.
Ward Connerly Commentary: The Meaning of 'Brown'
Commentator Ward Connerly shares his personal thoughts on the significance of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Janus Adams Commentary: Reflections on 'Brown'
On the 50th anniversary of the ruling, commentator Janus Adams shares her personal reflections on Brown v. Board of Education.
'Brown v. Board of Education' Memories
Commentator and legal scholar Walter Dellinger remembers the day the Brown ruling was announced. He was in school that day at Myers Park Junior High in Charlotte, N.C. He says it's hard to overstate the impact the ruling had on the South, and on the country as a whole.
More 'Brown' Features

Special NPR Coverage of the 'Brown' Anniversary

'Prince Edward': Desegregation in 1959 Virginia
Prince Edward tells the story of the Rome clan -- a rural, lower middle-class white family in rural Virginia -- and how they deal with the reality of desegregation. The story takes place in Prince Edward County in the summer of 1959, when county officials decide to close public schools rather than comply with federal orders to integrate. Exclusive to NPR.org, Martha Woodroof of member station WMRA in Charlottesville, Va., talks with author Dennis McFarland.
'Brown v. Board', Then and Now
A Supreme Court decision ended the policy of segregated schools -- but it was young African-Americans who made it happen. In a special Talk of the Nation broadcast from T.C Williams High School in Virginia, hear personal stories of integration.
Tavis Smiley Live at Morgan State University
NPR's Tavis Smiley broadcasts live from the Turpin Lamb Theater on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. before an audience and a panel of scholars on the legacy of Brown 50 years later.
Debate: Still Segregated? Race in America's Schools
In an ironic shift, some racial justice activists are now advocating for the development of specially designated schools for African-American children. Justice Talking holds a debate between Harvard Law's Charles Ogletree and columnist and commentator Armstrong Williams.
More 'Brown' Features