Is Brown Dying? Exploring the Resegregation Trend in Our Public Schools

23 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2006

See all articles by Danielle Holley-Walker

Danielle Holley-Walker

University of South Carolina - School of Law

Abstract

The fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education triggered significant reflection on the case, including its meaning, its goals, and its legacy. One obvious impact that Brown v. Board of Education had was the end of de jure racial segregation in our public schools. The more controversial and ongoing debate surrounding Brown's legacy is whether Brown was intended to or actually achieved any level of sustained success in actually integrating our public schools. This essay approaches the question of whether Brown is dead by focusing on the impact that Brown has today on the racial integration of our public schools.

This essay examines closely the resegregation trend in school districts where court-ordered desegregation decrees have ended, drawing on the Harvard Civil Rights Project. Unlike much of the legal scholarship on Brown which focuses on Supreme Court decisions, this essay also focuses on district court resegregation cases, identifying commonalities in the cases that may aid in the larger project of identifying the causes of the resegregation trend. This essay will also focus on district court resegregation cases that followed form the Supreme Court resegregation cases by identifying commonalities in the district court resegregation cases.

There are several significant similarities in the district court resegregtion cases related to the actions of the parties (plaintiffs, defendants, and the United States as the intervening party) and to the district courts that may aid in the larger project of identifying the causes of the resegregation trend. Part I of this essay briefly describes the history of court-ordered desegregation, and the role that district courts have played in crafting school desegregation plans. Part II examines the Supreme Court resegregation cases of the early 1990s and the subsequent analysis of those cases by legal scholars. Part III looks beyond the Supreme Court resegregation cases and describes the commonalities in the district court resegregation cases. Finally, Part IV analyzes the implications of these commonalities in the district court resegregation cases and areas that should be addressed in these cases.

Keywords: Brown, Board of Education, resegregation, public schools, education

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Holley-Walker, Danielle, Is Brown Dying? Exploring the Resegregation Trend in Our Public Schools. New York Law School Law Review, Vol. 49, p. 1085, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=922098

Danielle Holley-Walker (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina - School of Law ( email )

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Rm. 313
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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