On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that state laws establishing separate public schools for Black and white students were unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The 9-0 decision was hailed as a major victory for the civil rights of African-Americans, paving the way for the integration of the nation’s schools. But in retrospect, while there was reason to celebrate the court decision, there were also many things the Black community lost after the Brown decision.
Effective Black Schools Were Closed
The superior education that many Black schools provided before integration is a source of fierce pride for alumni of those schools, in addition to the subject of a growing body of scholarship, according to journalist Jonathan Tilove….
Effective Black Teachers Were Fired
In Black communities, desegregation lost support when thousands of teachers and principals lost jobs when their schools were closed….
A Consistent Record of Black Achievement
As early as the 1970s, economist Thomas Sowell, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, was writing about “patterns of black excellence” at segregated schools like Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington, which produced Martin Luther King Jr.; Frederick Douglass in Baltimore, which produced Thurgood Marshall….
Answers to the Black-White Achievement Gap
Brown’s most profound irony may be that answers to closing the achievement gap lie buried in the history of the schools that Brown’s implementation destroyed. What are the answers? Dedicated teachers. Strong principals. Order. Discipline. High expectations. Community and parental support….
No Such Thing as “Acting White”….
As Black children were put into an environment perceived as controlled by whites, the phenomenon of young Black kids equating academic excellence with “acting white” arose….