I spent a lot of time with you thinking I was second best, but you know what? I am good.
May 17, 1954: The Supreme Court Rules on Brown v. Board of Education
On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which says that no state may deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction.
Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.
Can you name all the key players behind Brown v. Board of Education? Revisit the landmark case with PBS’ The Supreme Court site.
School integration, Barnard School, Washington, D.C., 1955 (Library of Congress).
Although the Brown v. Board decision occurred in 1954, the following year the Supreme Court weakened this decision by instructing the lower federal courts to “enter such orders and decrees consistent with this opinion as are necessary and proper to admit to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed the parties to these cases.” What this meant, in a nutshell, is that most action on desegregation of public schools didn’t happen until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because that effectively meant the federal government could withhold funding from any school district who excluded students based on race. That was not the case with Brown v. Board alone.
It was only after government enforced desegregation that change came, especially in Southern states. In 1968, 78% of Black students in the South were enrolled in schools with a population of over 90% students of color. By 1972, only 25% of Black students in the South attended such segregated schools.
However, with the advent of the Nixon administration in 1968 and the appointment of four conservative justices to the Supreme Court, desegregation saw the beginning of a tremendous change in enforcement. In a recorded conversation with attorney general John Mitchell, Nixon discussed his criteria for for selective a new Supreme Court justice:
“I’d say our first requirement is to have a southerner. The second requirement, he must be a conservative southerner…. I don’t care if he’s a Democrat or a Republican. Third, within the definition of a conservative, he must be against busing, and against forced housing integration. Beyond that, he can do what he pleases.”
This led to the 1974 Millikin v. Bradley decision which initiated a series of events which dissolved the government’s efforts to desegregate schools and eventually lead to the observable phenomenon of “White flight”. According to Peter Iron’s book, Jim Crow’s Children, in 1970 Boston public schools enrolled 96,000 students, 59,000 of whom were White. By 2000, only 9,300 White students remain in public schools.
With the outcome of the “neighborhood school” case in 1989, the Board of Education of Oklahomah City v. Dowell, judicial oversight of desegregation was phased out of most cities. Students were limited to schools within their neighborhoods — leading to an increase in segregation due to a reflection of segregated housing and concentrated areas of poverty which make up POC-majority neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods of which of course, are affected by not only the systemic racism inherent in our job market, but also our housing market (via geographic steering and discrimination against black and brown homebuyers and renters.) Because we have segregated cities, our schools reflect that segregation.
And so our schools are becoming increasingly resegregated. School integration has become a myth. And increasingly the neoliberal dialogue surrounding resegregation is framed around the lack of interaction, insight, and exposure White middle-class students will have to POC and how this will affect their growth as human beings — but not primarily around the inequities of resources for black and brown youth; not about the school-to-prison or school-to-military pipelines which seek to almost maliciously ensure the academic failure of youth of color; not about the nature of White privilege in the education system with our majority White teachers, administrators, or decision makers (and teacher curriculum); nor about the fact that Black students in Black-run schools pre-Brown v. Board actually performed better than after desegregation began.
The issue isn’t that White students and students of color must integrate for the cultural or social benefit of White students, or that students of color must derive cultural and social benefits from interaction with Whites, but that the fundamental inequities which make White Supremacy possible and the ubiquity of White privilege a reality must be destroyed. The system is an attack on children of color and must be destroyed. So today is not a day to remember Jim Crow as just a memory, but to understand its reflection today in every school across the country for the pervasive monster that it is.
“So I shouldn’t be surprised that the Mother’s Day Parade shooting has largely been forgotten. On Sunday, shots were fired into a crowd during a parade in the New Orleans 7th ward. Police said they saw three suspects running from the scene.
This is the largest mass shooting in the United States where the shooters were still at large after the crime was committed. Think about that for a minute. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Fort Hill to Aurora, all the shooters were either killed or apprehended on site. But the person or people responsible for shooting 19 Americans are still free.”
One of the people who got shot was an antiviolence blogger. Somehow we aren’t seeing massive solidarity for New Orleans or the entire city going on police lockdown to find the perpetrators. Two reasons: 1) This mostly affected Black people, and we all know how much the media and the police give any fucks about Black people in New Orleans; 2) This was a gun crime, so we can’t criticize it because GUNS ARE FREEDOM!
Oakland, CA April 26, 1939 - Lee Ya-Ching arrives at the Oakland Airport aboard her red and yellow “Spirit of New China” plane on her campaign to raise funds for China’s 30 million war refugees. She was greeted by China’s vice-consul to San Francisco Patrick Sun.
Lee studied and earned her license at the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California in 1935.
(Oakland Tribune Photos)
If you are interested in learning more about Lee, Air & Space magazine, a publication of The Smithsonian, has a very knowledgable article about her on their website http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/Chinas_First_Lady_of_Flight.html