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Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution (Landmark Law Cases and American Society) Paperback – October 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0700612895 ISBN-10: 0700612890

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This work explores the cultural context of the groundbreaking Brown decision, which outlawed segregated schools, from the Civil War through the Plessy ruling, which held that blacks had no rights that whites were bound to honor. The authors highlight the pivotal role of the NAACP, which had long challenged customs that conflicted with the country's ideals through prior lawsuits, culminating in Brown. The authors also focus on many of the figures involved in this historic legal battle, including Charles Houston, first head of the NAACP, and Thurgood Marshall, NAACP lawyer and future Supreme Court justice. Although Brown eliminated the legal bases for the American caste system, its substantive value remains open to question. Beyond removing the legal barriers to school integration, the decision has had limited effect on the residential segregation that perpetuates segregated schools. Brown reflects both the potential and the limitations of the court's ability to reflect, influence, and reconcile cultural customs with the highest ideals of racial equality. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Provides readers with a good overview of the most important decision by the Supreme Court in the twentieth century. The emphasis on culture as well as politics and law is particularly valuable."
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Product Details

  • Series: Landmark Law Cases and American Society
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700612890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700612895
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hobart VINE VOICE on March 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When one sees the title "Brown v. Board of Education", it immediately stirs up notions of a Supreme Court case involving desegregation of public schools in America. Robert Cottol, Raymond Diamond, and Leland Ware have given us some of that feel, but not enough in this book.
The book, only 240+ pages to start with, does not even touch on the Brown case (or any of the six cases that collectively were referred to as "Brown") until page 119. The first half of the book is spent exploring the history of segregation in education and in America as a whole. I believe that this is an important topic, but not of enough importance to require half of a book that is supposed to be about this one Supreme Court case.
Aside from the fact that there is little in the book that deals with the case itself (besides the history of segregation in education, there is a substantial section of the book that deals with direct ramifications of ordered desegregation and the reactions of state and local governments to this order), the book is well written. I enjoyed reading the book, but I think that I would refer readers to a broader history of the Supreme Court and interventions in race relations, such as the new Klarman book "From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality" instead of this book.
If, however, one is looking for a consice book that does indeed provide the story of segregation in American education, including the historic decision in 1954 that abolished that segregation, this is a great book to read and understand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kwashnak VINE VOICE on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book looks at the case of Brown vs. Board of Education that outlawed segregation in schools 50 years ago this month. The actual case only takes up several chapters in the middle of the book. What is important is that the book tries to put the case in terms of legal, and societal, context. Chapters leading up speak about the legal challenges to segregation that appeared in the 50 prior years since Plessy v. Ferguson enshrined the doctrine of "separate but equal" in our nation's laws. Because law is built upon precedence, these cases mark the stones on which the group of cases, eventually to be grouped under Brown, would stand. The authors take us inside the Supreme Court and helps analyze the decision making process, and examine the subsequent practices and pitfalls of the implementation of that decision. It is a case that even a half century later the repercussions are still felt in America.
This is not a scintillating read. The focus is on the law and the legal actions leading up to and after the decision. But it is an excellent book to put this event into legal context.
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