Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 8-12

U.S. History

Brown v. Board of Education
Segregation - our nation's caste system (keeping the races separate - denying access to African Americans)

The Brown decision would test the validity of the law - law that existed for decades (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896)

It was essential the Supreme Court decide the case unanimously, anything less would appear weak - considering the controversial nature of the issue, unanimity was key - the Court could not give the appearance of division

The reasoning: Segregation in public education was a violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause

Many people viewed schools as the ticket to advancement - segregated schools would have a detrimental effect on Black children - sense of inferiority has an effect on a child's ability to learn

"... to separate them from others of similar age and qualifications because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way very unlikely to ever be undone." From the majority, Chief Justice Earl Warren

-Controversy over footnote #11 (Clark's research)

"We conclude unanimously, that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

-Controversy over the language (some felt the language was weak and/or vague - for example, no specific timeline for desegregation)

Brown II: "...with all deliberate speed." Again, some felt the language too weak/vague - left open the door to Southern resistance. In fact, desegregation in much of the South moved along at a snail's pace. From the perspective of the Court, their choice in language was necessary - stronger language could have triggered greater Southern resistance.

The decision was met with harsh reaction - especially in the South (In Mississippi, there was a steady increase in violent crime against Blacks who exerted their rights following the decision.)

Violent backlash took the form of beatings, burnings, lynchings, etc.
Citizens' Council - urban, middle class hate group (goal was to make it extremely difficult for any Black to find and hold a job, get credit, vote, etc.)

Many Southern districts stalled implementation
Where desegregation occurred, what seemed to be the motivating factor(s)?

Psychology connection: What is "the psychology of inevitability"? Could that have played a role in "speeding" up the process of desegregation in some districts?

Brown was a success when all three branches of government took the decision seriously:
"The peak of the effort to desegregate the schools came in the late 1960's and early 1970s. The only period in which there was active, positive support by both the courts and the executive branch of the government was the four years following the enactment of the l964 Civil Rights Act. During this period federal education officials, the Department of Justice, and the high courts all maintained strong and reasonably consistent pressure for achieving actual desegregation. During this period desegregation policy was transformed from a very gradual anti-discrimination policy to one of rapid and full integration."
1988 was the peak year for integration - steady decline ever since

Legacy of Brown:
*Offered the possibility of long-awaited change (would have consequences extending beyond public education)
*Perception the Supreme Court was an ally in the struggle for Civil Rights
*Brown shaped policy in other areas such as the criminal justice system

Additional information:
Information about the Brown decision and lesson plans/activities:
Oyez Project:
Teaching Tolerance - Timeline of Integration
Brown's Legacy
Where are we now?
The Strange History of School Segregation - Rethinking Schools
Schools More Separate - Rethinking Schools
"When President Kennedy asked Congress in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in all programs receiving federal aid, 98% of Southern Blacks were still in totally segregated schools."
(I'm still looking for the statistic you asked for....there is a lot of good information including the quote above from the article linked above.)
The most segregated states for Black students include the leaders for the last quarter century: Illinois, Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. California, which has a small percentage of Black students, and Maryland have moved rapidly up this list. Outside the South we find the two states with the most dramatic declines in Black student contact with white students since l980: Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Additional notes:
Race sorting activity:
5 Ws and an H activity- due on Friday

World Studies- 8th period

Generation Islam
Books not Bombs
Greg Mortenson: Person of the Week:
NPR program:
U.S. News and World Report:
Three Cups of Tea Wiki (Book Summary):

Video clips
Read aloud Scholastic Magazine excerpt from The Kite Runner
Worksheet with partner

I read Listen to the Wind
Video clips
Read aloud CNN piece


Steve said...

Love your blog -- what great resources for your students! Have you seen the documentary A Girl Like Me? It was made in 2005 by a 17 year old and does the same kinds of doll tests as Kenneth and Mamie Clark did.

Lea Hansen said...

Steve....thanks for sharing. I'll check it out. I am not familiar with that documentary.