• Title: Jim Crow's Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision
  • Author: Peter Irons
  • Released: 2002-09-16
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 512
  • ISBN: 0670889180
  • ISBN13: 978-0670889181
  • ASIN: 0670889180
From Publishers Weekly Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that mandated the desegregation of U.S. schools, is popularly seen as a hallmark of American justice. But Irons, author of May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution and professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, surveys recent U.S. history to reveal a quite different picture: many states have found ways to delay implementation of, or totally evade, the ruling. Further, in response to the often violent battles around school busing and a clear rise of conservatism in the country, Irons argues that in 1991 the court began "judicial burial" of Brown by setting precedents that continued to allow segregated schools. Irons supplies fascinating and vital contexts for his narrative, beginning with examples of how slave literacy was clearly connected to slave revolts and other demands for freedom. He looks in detail at how the politics of nominating Supreme Court justices have affected the ongoing battle for desegregation; he also provides a detailed analysis of how, in 1948, Thurgood Marshall worked to secure legal access for African-Americans to graduate schools in states that bordered the South, then built upon those decisions toward Brown. Gripping stories of internecine Supreme Court battles as well as the "war against the constitution" waged by Southern politicians who defied Brown punctuate this account, which ends with a cogent overview of recent studies indicating the win-win benefits of integration.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal For this work, yet another excellent study by Irons (political science, Univ. of California, San Diego; A People's History of the Supreme Court), the moral is the message in the title. Irons does celebrate the nearly revolutionary work of the Warren Court in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling of May 17, 1954. However, he also convincingly cautions us that if Brown wrought a revolution, it produced a partial one at best, for now we find ourselves in what he sees as the throes of resegregation. Other recent works have explored the legacy of Brown and its progeny. But Irons, a sage veteran of Supreme Court analysis, including its disappointing rulings concerning Japanese internment during World War II, vividly illustrates the promise of the past and the perils of the present in his cogent commentary concerning a revolution unfulfilled. This engaging, insightful work covers the 150-year struggle to realize the ideal of equality in public education and demonstrates that the struggle continues. Highly recommended.
Stephen K. Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Univ., Nampa, ID
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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