The Story of Brown v. Bd of Education

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Today‟s Lecture:

Brown and the Civil Rights Struggle

Number:

10

Lecture Organization: • Class Announcements

• Litigation Strategy
• Brown v. Board of Education

• Brown II
• Southern Resistance • Was Brown a Failure • Civil Rights Movement
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Class Announcements

new website features -- I’ve put some new features on your web pages. -- Journal that keeps track of events for your specific class “My Class” [will continue to have more thing on it over the weekend]

Class Announcements
we‟re behind -- we will have to cut some things out of the course -- I’m not really sure what. I’ll decide soon. (we really need to be moving into other struggles)

Class Announcements

test -- exam is February 11th -- second half is on Feb. 13th -- you can avoid the second half by handing in an essay to me on the 13th at a private meeting, where we will discuss it. [explain procedure] -- essay topics will be handed out the Wednesday following the Steelers victory

Questions?

Litigation Strategy
5. McLaurin v. Oklahoma

-- George McLaurin was a professor with a master’s degree
-- He wanted to get his Ph.D -- Oklahoma made it a crime for a white school to admit an African American -- NAACP sues; Court rules (a) make up a separate school like Texas was doing; or (b) admit him

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Litigation Strategy
4. interesting twist: --they admitted him, but segregated him internally

Question: Warm-up Question: How does this threaten What was Marshall‟s Marshall‟sstrategy? litigation litigation strategy?
5. The Court rules that you can’t do that. – if a state chose to educate aa and whites in the same facility, they could not segregate. McLaurin v. Oklahoma Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 8 State Regents for Higher Education (1948)

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Brown v. Board of Education
1. The big target: the public school system -- much larger target; much more costly

-- If this could be defeated, no segregation could exist anywhere
-- this was always the major target. It was approached incrementally. 2. Five basic cases …

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1. South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliot): • Harry Briggs and more than 60 parents in Clarendon County, South Carolina. • Their children had to walk 5 miles to a dilapidated building while white children rode busses to modern schools. • South Carolina thought they would solve this by pouring money into aa schools. 2. Kansas: (Oliver and Linda Brown) • Oliver brown had tried to enroll his daughter, Linda, into a summer school five (5) blocks away. Turned down. • Linda had to walk between railroad tracks to catch a bus to all-black Monroe.

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3. Delaware (Gephardt v. Benton): • parents were upset that children had to travel downtown to a Wilmington high school that was inferior to the one they passed by on the way. 4. Virginia -- Davis v Prince Edward County: • 170 students, led by a 9th grader, Dorothy Davis, who protested the poor facilities in Farmville. 5. Washington DC -- Bowling v. Sharpe • Whether the Due Process Clause carried with it an equal protection guarantee. (This will be a separate case).

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Brown v. Board of Education
3. The Politics of Law: -- Brown is argued in December of 1952 -- Initial vote: 5-4 to UPHOLD Plessy. -- Fred Vinson, chief justice from Kentucky, dies. -- Eisenhower appoints Earl Warren to the Court • Warren was a “progressive republican” • Governor of California • Had helped Eisenhower win the Republican nomination • Ike promised Warren the first vacancy
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• The historic phone call

Brown v. Board of Education
-- Eisenhower appoints Earl Warren to the Court • Warren was a “progressive republican” • Governor of California

• Had helped Eisenhower win the Republican nomination
• Ike promised Warren the first vacancy • The historic phone call
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Brown v. Board of Education
4. Warren takes action: -- The story of his chauffer • Warren visits a civil war memorial in Virginia while the Brown case is pending • His chauffer cannot find a hotel and has to sleep in the car • Warren sees him the next morning asking him why he slept in the car? [hotels would not admit him].

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Brown v. Board of Education
-- Begins internally campaigning to change the Court’s votes • Changes the minds of two southerners • Changes the mind of Stanley Reed, also from Kentucky, which makes the vote unanimous: 9-0.

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Brown II

Brown II? -- Brown v. Board of Education was not the end of the story; it was only the middle -- Brown never said what to do about the problem -- the concept of a legal “remedy” -- what are school districts supposed to do now? (e.g. some constitutional decisions are not retroactive) -- how quickly would they have to comply?

Brown II
the Court‟s “political problem” Warren knew he had a political problem with his decision -- the South would clearly oppose the decision -- there would be political pressure against the decision -- he wanted to give the NAACP more time to organize prointegration pressure

Question:

Why is that a problem for the courts?

Brown II

the second hearing -- Warren tells the lawyers that a second hearing needs held -- to discuss what remedy is appropriate -- Marshall thought the remedy should be immediate integration -- Warren wanted the local communities and their courts to be involved in compliance -- Hence, you have the decision “Brown II,” decided one year after Brown I.

Inside the Justice’s Chambers -On April 11, of 1955, the argument about brown‟s remedy began. Thurgood Marshall wanted the court to set a single national deadline for ending segregation. He said the 14th Amendment does not have a local option on it, and that it should begin forthwith. When the justices met in conference, Justice Burton recorded that in his notes. “Give district courts as much latitude as we can, but also as much support as we can.” District courts are the ones that must come up with a plan that is flexible to suit each school district based upon the peculiar circumstances. They might have to come up with a transportation plan; they might have to redraw district boundaries, etc.

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Brown II

the decision -- must desegregate with “deliberate speed” -- That’s different from a date certain (tomorrow, 6 months, by January 3rd.) -- Each school district had to file a “desegregation plan” in the local federal court. -- The local federal courts would determine whether the school board was on the right path to compliance (Of course, any plan could be appealed)

Southern Resistance

Southern Manifesto -- a statement signed by members of Congress urging that the country not obey the supreme court decision. Impeachment? -- calls for Earl Warren to be impeached for this and other fairness decisions Privatization

-- calls for Earl Warren to be impeached for this and other fairness decisions

Southern Resistance

Privatization -- some states responded shut down their public schools -- and provided tuition grants for students to use at private schools (private schools were allowed to segregate)

Question: Southern Resistance What good is democracy if it is infested with racism? Free Choice Plans
Free-Choice -One of the first cases to reach the Phase II at the district level was in front of Judge Parker where the Briggs case first originated. Parker took the position that if the segregation occurs voluntarily as a result of choice, then that will be permissible under the constitution. They came up with a freechoice plan that allowed parents to choose the whitest school that was in the district. School officials would go about approving or denying requests for transfers to other schools. Most school districts repeatedly denied the requests of black school parents to send their children to white schools. Only a handful of school children in the deep south attended schools with white children. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court did not address the constitutionality of these plans until 1968.

Southern Resistance

Border State -- let’s look at the violence and resistance

The Border Violence -What was happening was that in the deep south from South Carolina to Louisiana, none of the district court judges were ordering black kids to go to school with white kids. But on the border states, that was happening -Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas. Those are the states where you begin to see protests. In Clinton TN, a town of 4000 in the eastern hills, there was a trouble maker named John Casper. A mob of 1,000 whites blocked traffic around the courthouse square and battered the cars in which blacks were riding with baseball bats. The mob overwhelmed the police and chased blacks through the streets. 100 state troopers disbursed the mob with tear gas and arrested Casper. The governor sent in 6000 national guard troops and 7 tanks to restore order.

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Texas -In Mansfield Texas, a small town near Houston, there was trouble there. A swarm of 400 whites came on the campus of a school and waved flags that read “dead coons are the best coons” and “2 dollars a dozen for „[n-word] ears.‟” This caused the 3 black students who were granted permission to attend the school to remain in a segregated school instead (out of fear).

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Western Kentucky -In western Kentucky in the town of Sturgis, there was some problems there. Armed mobs roamed the streets until national guard troops forced them back. Black students endured racial epitaphs for weeks until finally the white students departed

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Southern Resistance

Eisenhower and Little Rock September 1957. School board’s plan: minimal compliance
Minimal Compliance -The city school board had adopted a plan of phased integration that began with the admission of 9 black students to central high school. Integration of other junior high schools and high schools would be phased in over a 10 year period. The plan was designed to produce “the least amount of integration spread out over the longest period of time.” (a quote from a school official). The governor of Arkansas had won election based on the platform of resisting integration by any means necessary.

Southern Resistance

Eisenhower and Little Rock September 1957. School board’s plan: minimal compliance Georgia govern visits Arkansas to show support

He calls the Supreme Court “communist sympathizers”
This encourages Arkansas governor Orval Faubus to do the same thing.

Faubus’ Last Stand -The night before the 9 black students appeared at central high, Faubus appeared on television, warning “that blood will run in the streets if they entered the school. “ He had ordered national guard troops to surround the school and keep the students out. A white mob formed and cheered on the soldiers. Millions of Americans saw this on television. One of the school children was a 16 year old American girl of African descent. The mob had yelled things like “get a rope and get her over here.” Eisenhower saw this and 2 weeks after this erupted he ordered 1000 paratroopers from the 101st airborne division into the city. They patrolled the area for the rest of the school year and allowed the American students of African descent to attend the school, but they did endure taunts and shoving as they did attend school.

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Southern Resistance

Cooper v. Aaron (Little Rock strikes again!)
Little Rock Strikes Again -Cooper v. Aaron was heard in emergency session It was the summer, and . Warren got them back together. In Little Rock, judge Lemley had put a temporary halt to their integration program under the argument that it would cause a tremendous amount of problems. The ruling was appealed. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Lemley‟s attempt to delay in 1958. Following the decision, Governor Faubus closed down all the schools for a year. Lawmakers had given him the right to do that. NAACP lawyers took him back to court, and won a ruling that forced the reopening of the schools. Little Rock voters got tired of this, and they elected a new school board that was willing to move toward compliance with court orders.

Southern Resistance

John Kennedy and James Meredith governor of Mississippi blocked the door to keep James Meredith from registering at the university of Mississippi. Kennedy sent in hundreds of federal marshals when a crowd attacked them, he called in paratroopers.

Southern Resistance

John Kennedy and George Wallace George Wallace blocked the door to keep blacks from enrolling at the university of Alabama Kennedy again called in federal forces

Was Brown a Failure?

Statistics -- by 1964, 98% of African American school children were still in segregated schools. -- by 1970, after the civil rights movement, only 10% were in segregated schools

Was Brown a Failure?

the Gerald Rosenberg argument -- Brown wasn’t even needed; the Civil Rights Act is what really changed segregation. -- “Hollow Hope:” Courts cannot transform society. Major social change cannot come from the judiciary

-- Brown was only a gesture of symbolic politics?

Question:

What do you think about this argument?

Was Brown a Failure?

the counter arguments -- Brown served as catalyst for the civil rights movement (“the spark that helps the flame argument”) -- It gave legitimacy to the movement -- What can the Court ever do that is meaningful? (Was Plessy relevant?) (How can Brown be irrelevant but not Plessy?)

Was Brown a Failure?
Hamilton‟s Argument -- Courts do not possess the key political power -- the power over the “purse” or the “sword” Purse: taxing and spending Sword: military and police Main idea: Courts cannot be the policy leader. They can only have an impact at the margin

Conceptualizing Hamilton

Congress Executive SocietyDoesn‟t happen this way

Courts

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Conceptualizing Hamilton

Congress Executive Society Doesn‟t happen this way either!

Courts

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