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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Brown at 60: Listen

Brown at 60

Nettie and Nicki Hunt at Supreme Court

  • Welcome to the Brown at 60 observance
  • Learn more about Brown v. Board of Education.
    • Brown v. Board history with links to legal documents
    • National Archives educational documents about the case
    • Brown v. Board of Education timeline
    • Interesting facts about the case and the plaintiffs
  • Meet the legal minds behind Brown v Board of Education.
  • Listen to Jack Greenberg and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky in their own words.
  • Watch the impact of the Brown decision.
  • Read more on:

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Brown at 60

Jack Greenberg, LDF’s second Director-Counsel and a member of the Brown legal team, discusses LDF’s strategy in Brown, the experience of arguing before the Court, the long road to desegregation, and his friendship with Thurgood Marshall.

Audio courtesy

  • 0:33 – The NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s strategy to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson
  • 3:05 – The beginnings of the five Brown cases: equal facilities, not integration
  • 5:40 – Expectations: “We thought we would win, because this was after…the Court had said some very condemnatory things about segregation”
  • 6:29 – The Legal Defense Fund was always an interracial organization
  • 7:06 – The oral arguments: Thurgood Marshall turns a rhetorical flourish by renowned lawyer John W. Davis into a strike for the plaintiffs
  • 9:18 – Fierce resistance to the decision
  • 12:02 – The impact of Brown on the civil rights movement: When the bus company Rosa Parks challenged was thwarted at the Supreme Court “Brown was the whole opinion”
  • 12:38 – When was segregation finally achieved? Alexander v. Holmes County
  • 15:11 – In recent rulings, the Supreme Court has “turned Brown on its head”
  • 17:37 – Thurgood Marshall and his acceptance of the Solicitor General job

Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, discusses segregation in American public schools, focusing on recent Court rulings he believes have contributed to re-segregation since the 1970s.

Audio courtesy

  • 0:00 – Statistics on the current segregation of Latino and black students in public schools
  • 2:51 – Disparities in spending among majority-white vs. majority-black or -Latino public schools
  • 4:50 – The Supreme Court’s “large role” in these statistics: three sets of cases5:20"”Case set I, the 1970s:
  • 5:24 – San Antonio Board of Education v. Rodriguez: Disparities in school funding do not violate equal protection
  • 6:57 – Milliken v. Bradley: Inter-district remedies struck down unless all districts intentionally violated the Constitution
  • 9:45 – Case set II, the 1990s: Effective desegregation remedies could be ended even if the result is re-segregation
  • 14:15 – Case set III: Parents Involved in Community Schools ends voluntary racial integration in Seattle and Louisville school districts
  • 15:46 – Conclusion: “The results of all of this are tragic…American public schools are separate and unequal”