Brown v Board of Education: Reactions 60 Years On

Saturday saw the sixtieth anniversary of the landmark win for Brown vs. Board of Education, a case that, as you may know, ostensibly dealt with ending the practice of the ubiquitous segregation by race in the USA. Sixty years after the fact, how has it affected those who have lived through Jim Crow, those born in the generation following it, those who grew up long into its legacy and whose future we trust to their hands? We’ve looked and found three thought-provoking reactions and speeches either coming from various stages in life, or talking to people in those stages.

Looking to the Past: MarshaRose Joyner, 60 Years Later, Reflections on Brown vs. Board of Education

In a poignant reflection of her lived experiences as a student directly affected by the changes brought about by Brown, Joyner recounts her life before the ruling and in the aftermath of integration. In a narrative rarely seen when discussing segregation, she mentions there were positives of being in a school comprised primary of African-Americans, namely that the coverage of black figures in history lessons made every day  seem like Black History Month. The article ends with an almost haunting look at the discrimination she faced in a world where everyday people struggled with the equality the courts deemed law. Read the full article here.

Looking to the Present: Imani Perry, Five myths about Brown v. Board of Education

The Internet may be notorious for spreading misinformation, but it is this reputation that, ironically, makes it embrace debunking articles with much the same fervor, and the Washington Post was only too glad to deliver. From the misconception that Brown was only ever about school segregation, to the well-intentioned notion that Brown had caused schools to become much more integrated, there is much to ponder in this post. Read the full article here.

Looking to the Future: Michelle Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses Senior Appreciation Day in Topeka, Kansas

There are hardly any times or places more appropriate to talk to the next generation about the future of racial diversity in the US than on the eve of Brown’s sixtieth anniversary, in the town that brought about Brown in the first place. In a speech warning of the trends of systemic segregation, the First Lady nonetheless makes sure to instill a sense of hope and togetherness in her diverse audience of young people. Those who may have trouble hearing audio will appreciate the subtitles provided in the video.