Brown vs. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial and Educational Reform: A Political Analysis of Derrick Bell’s Silent Covenants

Earnest N. Bracey, Ph.D.

Abstract


This paper explores the late Derrick Bell’s book, Silent Covenants, while discussing the significance of the Brown vs. Board of Education (of Topeka) decision in terms of justice and racial equality for African Americans in the United States. It also explains the difficulties of implementing this famous ruling, which still has problems—that is, in terms of fulfilling all aspects of the Supreme Court decision, as many American conservatives want to strike it from the historical record.


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References


Mark A. Stevens, ed., Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia (Springfield, MA: Merriam Inc., 2000), 240.

William H. Harris and Judith S. Levey, “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas,” The New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 380. It should be pointed out that school segregation in southern states had been “achieved through the Gerrymandering of school districts.”

Peter Irons, Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision (New York: Penguin Books, 2002), x.

Ibid., 172.

Gary Orfield, “Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown vs. Board of Education,” in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, ed., M. O’Brien, 2nded. (Baltimore MD: Lanahan Publishers, Inc., 2003), 252.

Harris and Levey, “Brown vs. Board of Education,” 380.

Taylor Branch, “Remembering the March,” USA Weekend, August 16-18, 2013, 8.

Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants: Brown vs. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 4.

Irons, Jim Crow’s Children, 172-173. It should be noted that the federal district courts have “jurisdiction over lawsuits to enforce the desegregation decision….” See Harris and Levey, “Integration,” The New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975),1347.

Stevens, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia,1279.

Edward Sidlow and Beth Henschen, America at Odds, 4th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/ Thomson Learning, 2004), 103.

Stevens, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia, 1279.

Harris and Levey, “Plessy vs. Ferguson,” The New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 2168.

Michael Meyerson, Political Numeracy: Mathematical Perspectives on Our Chaotic Constitution (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), 142.

Harris and Levey, “Brown vs. Board of Education, 380.

Harris and Levey, “Earl Warren,” The New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 2930.

Harris and Levey, “Brown vs. Board of Education,” 380.

Irons, Jim Crow’s Children, 174.

Ibid., 174. It must be pointed out that you cannot legislate a racist person’s feelings or ideological direction.

Langston Hughes, Milton Meltzer, C. Eric Lincoln, and Jon Michael Spencer, A Pictorial History of African Americans (New York: Crown Publisher, Inc., 1995), 301.

Ibid., 301.

Karen O’Connor and Larry J. Sabato, Essentials of American Government Continuity and Change, 2004 ed. (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2005), 149.

Sidlow and Henschen, America at Odds, 103-104. For some white Americans, the Brown decision has always been controversial and despised. Indeed, many white conservatives thought that it was a terrible idea. Those who also objected to theruling saw it as absolutely dictatorial.

Stevens, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia, 240.

Ibid., 240.

Robert J. Bresler, Robert J. Friedrich, Joseph J. Karlesky, D. Grier Stephenson, Jr., and Charles C. Turner, Introduction to American Government (Redding, CA: North West Publishing, LLC, 2003), 91.

Ibid., 91.

Judy Jones and William Wilson, An Incomplete Education (New York: Ballantine Books, 1987),57.

Stevens, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia, 1021. It should be pointed out that President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall to both the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 1961 and U.S. Solicitor General in 1965, before he appointed him to sit on the Supreme Court.

Ibid., 1021.

“Education standards: Best and brightest,” The Economist, August 17, 2013, 70.

Meyerson, Political Numeracy, 98.

Orfield, “Dismantling Desegregation," 252.

Hughes, Meltzer, Lincoln, and Spencer, A Pictorial History, 304.

Bell, Silent Covenants, 4.

Meyerson, Political Numeracy, 98.

Adam Liktak, “Justice Ginsburg calls court one of the most activist in American history,” Las Vegas Sun, September 1, 2013), 3.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/ijbsr.v3i10.302

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