2004 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to end segregation in public schools. Many people were elated when Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in May 1954, the ruling that struck down state-sponsored racial segregation in America's public schools. Thurgood Marshall, chief attorney for the black families that launched the litigation, exclaimed later, "I was so happy, I was numb." The novelist Ralph Ellison wrote, "another battle of the Civil War has been won. The rest is up to us and I'm very glad. What a wonderful world of possibilities are unfolded for the children!"Here, in a concise, moving narrative, Bancroft Prize-winning historian James T. Patterson takes readers through the dramatic case and its fifty-year aftermath. A wide range of characters animates the story, from the little-known African Americans who dared to challenge Jim Crow with lawsuits(at great personal cost); to Thurgood Marshall, who later became a Justice himself; to Earl Warren, who shepherded a fractured Court to a unanimous decision. Others include segregationist politicians like Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas; Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, and Nixon; and controversial Supreme Court justices such as William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas. Most Americans still see Brown as a triumph--but was it? Patterson shrewdly explores the provocative questions that still swirl around the case. Could the Court--or President Eisenhower--have done more to ensure compliance with Brown? Did the decision touch off the modern civil rights movement? How useful are court-ordered busing and affirmative action against racial segregation? To what extent has racial mixing affected the academic achievement of black children? Where indeed do we go from here to realize the expectations of Marshall, Ellison, and others in 1954?
Strange Career offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws and American race relations. This book presented evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1880s. It's publication in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court ordered schools be desegregated,helped counter arguments that the ruling would destoy a centuries-old way of life. The commemorative edition includes a special afterword by William S. McFeely, former Woodward student and winner of both the 1982 Pulitzer Prize and 1992 Lincoln Prize. As William McFeely describes in the newafterword, 'the slim volume's social consequence far outstripped its importance to academia. The book became part of a revolution...The Civil Rights Movement had changed Woodward's South and his slim, quietly insistent book...had contributed to that change.'
The most comprehensive anthology of primary sources available, spanning the entire history of the American civil rights movement. A record of one of the greatest and most turbulent movements of this century, The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Readeris essential for anyone interested in learning how far the American civil rights movements has come and how far it has to go. Included are the Supreme Court's Brown vs Board of Educationdecision in its entirety; speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr., and his famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail"; an interview with Rosa Parks; selections from Malcolm X Speaks; Black Panther Bobby Seale's Seize the Time; Ralph Abernathy's controversial And the Walls Came Tumbling Down; a piece by Herman Badillo on the infamous Attica prison uprising; addresses by Harold Washington, Jesse Jackson, Nelson Mandel, and much more. "An important volume for students and professionals who wish to grasp the basic nature of the civil rights movement and how it changed America in fundamental ways." -Aldon Morris, Northwestern University