Everyone knows that the court in Brown declared racially segregated education unconstitutional. But the court also squarely identified segregation as an insidious form of racial subordination. The high court’s decision identified education as perhaps the most important function of state government and powerfully affirmed the right of black children to the dignity inherent in full citizenship.
But when we talk about Brown, we too often mark the impact of the decision on black children, without taking stock of the damaging effects of segregated education on white children. And yet the harm segregation does to white children is also part of Brown’s history. We should remember that lawyers for the black students in Brown presented strong evidence of the damaging effects of segregation on white children, too.
Read Sherrilyn Ifill’s full op-ed here.