How time really does fly? May 17, 1954 was the year of the unanimous decision for Brown vs The Board of Education but truthfully speaking how far have we really come? For me I truly believe we have come far but not so far that we should forget where we used to be. Our educational system is still broken and our minority children are still are not getting the best education that is available to whites. Unfortunately the problem goes deeper than just not having adequate materials. Several cities have taken it upon themselves to “re-create” the wheel when the car is on 4 flats.
The fact of the matter is prior to Brown vs The Board of Education, there were several cases filed directly related to the allowed segregation of schools. If you remember it was Plessy v. Ferguson that really kicked this thing into high gear. This was the case where the United States Supreme Court in the jurisprudence of the United States deemed it constitutional for states laws that had racial segregation in public areas under the doctrine “separate but equal”. Basically saying that as long as colored folk have similar accesses they need not have access to what whites have. Well the decision of Brown v. Board of Education changes all of that, deeming that separate educational facilities unequal.
If there were cases prior to Brown v. Board what made this case different front the others and exactly who is “Brown” and just how far have we come since the decision?
Well Brown truthfully speaking “Brown” is several families who had been denied the ability to attend educational institutions where they were occupied by predominately whites. Brown because alphabetically the name came first of all the litigants the case was names Brown v. The Board of Education, however Linda Brown does in fact exist. She was at the time a 3rd grader who has to walk several blocks to attend school when there was a school in her own community. Her parents sought admission to the school and was denied entry to the all white school. Linda’s parents were convinced by a childhood friend and attorney to the NAACP of Topeka, KS to join in a class action suit against the Board of Education. This suit has been combined with other suits filed in other states from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Exactly how far have we progressed since Brown v. Board? Considering I was born in 1968, I am 14 years younger than one of the most important cases in American history. From what I have seen of the educational system as I grew up, the “racial” curtain may have been supposedly brought down but there is still some serious inequalities as it relates to equal education.
Schools in urban impoverished areas are not equipped with the same educational tools as schools in affluent areas. Books are not as plentiful, classrooms are overcrowded and the threat of violence has become the main focus.
Now one would say that we have come a long way since 1954 and I would tend to agree but only if the minority children were afforded the same opportunities. By same opportunities I mean that children shouldn’t have to be concerned where their next meal is coming from because it is no secret that some children that attend schools in urban areas get their daily source of nutrition from the school breakfast and lunch programs.
In all actuality, I believe that without Brown vs Board of Education minorities would not be anywhere near where we are today however I also think that we still have a long road to true equality as it relates to education. So let’s ask the real question, was Brown vs Board a failure or a success? I personally would have to say it was a success because its decision allowed for me a young African-American woman to obtain higher education and it was a failure because the school system has found other ways to keep segregation alive and kicking legally. It’s not a win-win situation and it would be my prayer that our “representatives” that we vote into office would take a serious look at the constant inequalities that hurt all people not just black people!!
Source: History.com & CBS