Brown vs. Board of Education: 50 years later

Remembering the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that desegregated U.S. public schools

May 18, 2004

Bush, Kerry hail ruling on Brown anniversary

TOPEKA, Kan. - In separate speeches yesterday, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry hailed the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed state-sanctioned school segregation, but they also cautioned that the decision's full promise has not been achieved. "America has yet to reach the high calling of its own ideals," Bush said.

May 18, 2004

Midtown pupils revisit 1954 for history lesson

"Stop Integration Now!" the flier being handed out at the board meeting read. "Brown v. Board was a horrible decision!"

May 17, 2004

Brown vs. Board of Education

Schools' historic ties to an unequal past

The small wooden building that once housed Queenstown Elementary School contains a paradox.

May 16, 2004

Brown vs. Board: 50 years later

'Inherently unequal'

On May 17, 1954, Baltimore was a gritty blue-collar town that had the bustle of a northern industrial center and the Jim Crow laws and traditions of Dixie.

May 16, 2004

Brown vs. Board of Education

The promise of the ruling remains largely deferred

As the bell rings at 7:35 on a Monday morning, 16-year-old Anthony Wiggins settles into his usual seat in the back row of a half-empty English classroom at Randallstown High School.

May 16, 2004

Marshall led way to ruling

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education that school segregation must end, Thurgood Marshall stood with his colleagues on the court steps to pose for photos printed in newspapers around the country. "Thurgood wins" read a headline in the Baltimore Afro-American.

May 16, 2004

Brown vs. Board: 50 years later

Where we live fuels a divide

There was a time when Walter Sondheim Jr. held fast to the notion that racially desegregated schools would give way to a racially integrated society. That was 1954. He admits now that he "should have known better."

May 16, 2004

Douglass still struggling

Next month, Charles McDaniels will graduate from Frederick Douglass High School, the alma mater of civil rights attorney and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

May 16, 2004

Black students sent away

Those who know the story first-hand have dwindled to a precious few.

May 16, 2004

Voices of Brown

Lawrence E. Leak

May 16, 2004

Quiet, unassuming youth persevered at Mervo

To get a high school education, James A. Grove had to walk alone through the racist name-calling and intimidating stares that became as routine each morning as affixing his pocket protector to his neatly pressed shirt.

May 16, 2004

Recovering a 'positive culture'

In his father's day, parents would catch frogs for students to dissect in biology class.

May 16, 2004

Feeling judged by color of skin

On the sign in Winfield Elementary School's lobby, black and white hands reach for red, purple, yellow, green and blue stars.

May 16, 2004

Case summary

The suit

May 16, 2004

Student essays

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the Baltimore County school system held an essay contest for middle school pupils and high school students, asking them how the case affects their lives. Some excerpts:

May 16, 2004


1857: The Dred Scott decision, written by Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney of Maryland, rules that black people cannot be U.S. citizens and have "no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

May 16, 2004

The legacy of 'Brown': 'It transformed the values of the country'

JACK GREENBERG was 27 years old when he helped argue the Brown cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. His memoir, Crusaders in the Courts, was published in a new edition this month.

May 16, 2004

A profound victory for humanity

FIFTY YEARS later, the landscape of American race relations looks so radically different that it is hard to remember what the nation looked like before the Supreme Court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

May 16, 2004

Baltimore after 'Brown'

WALTER SONDHEIM JR., 95, was president of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners when the school system desegregated in 1954 following the Supreme Court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. The following are excerpts from interviews he granted to Maryland Humanities, a publication of the Maryland Humanities Council, and The Sun.

May 16, 2004

Lessons learned, shared by City's first black graduate

ON THAT CLEAR, sunny morn in the fall of 1954, when Walter Arthur Gill entered City College as a high school senior, the 17-year-old wasn't thinking about court cases or making history or the now-seminal Brown vs. Board of Education decision to desegregate America's schools.

May 16, 2004


"The 'Brown' decision and the resulting civil rights movement in the United States inspired and galvanized human rights struggles around the world. ... For my family, commemorating this anniversary is an opportunity to convey that at the heart of positive race relations is a sense of unity, respect and acceptance."

May 16, 2004

Leading the way

AMERICA'S apartheid laws would fall, one by one, in the years following the Supreme Court's ruling on May 17, 1954, in the consolidated Brown vs. Board of Education cases. While Brown specifically swept away laws that denied rights to black schoolchildren, its triumph was about much more.

May 12, 2004

Gregory Kane: 50 years later, gaps separate the races in our schools

SHANNON JOHNSON was born 32 1/2 years after the Supreme Court proclaimed "separate but equal" education unconstitutional on May 17, 1954.

May 4, 2004

Center Stage highlights Brown decision

The stage company was made up of modern-day judges, journalists and students - products of school systems without racial barriers. But their words evoked a time when skin color dictated educational opportunities.

May 3, 2004

A history lesson on stage

Center Stage retreats half a century tonight with a fascinating commemoration of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling outlawing segregation in public schools.

May 16, 2004

Interview with Jack Greenberg and Gilbert Holmes

Jack Greenberg was 27 years old when he helped argue the Brown vs. Board of Education cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He succeeded Thurgood Marshall as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he worked for more than 30 years. He is a professor of law at Columbia University. His memoir, Crusaders in the Courts, was published in a new edition this month.

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