The Promise: Brown v. Board of Education, The Civil Rights Movement, and Our Schools


The PromiseThis special expanded issue of Rethinking Schools magazine (Volume 18, No. 3 – Spring 2004) celebrates the courage and dedication of those who risked their lives to end the scourge of segregation, and examines where we still need to go to eliminate racial inequities in our schools and our society. Activists and scholars provide unique perspectives on the Brown decision. And classroom teachers offer teaching ideas, readings, and lessons on segregation and desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement.

Included in this special collection are:

Editorial: Brown 50 Years Later 
By the Editors of Rethinking Schools
Why our society must work harder than ever to achieve the goals of equality and justice that drove the Civil Rights Movement.

Reflections from a “Deseg Baby” 
By Linda Mizell
Growing up in the segregated South meant listening to conversations about Brown and desegregation — and hearing African Americans express some views you might not expect.

Deconstructing the Brown Myth 
By Diana F. Hess
When teachers present Brown as an icon, students may miss the larger lesson

Brown for All
By Carl A. Grant
Carl A. Grant, chair of the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says Brown provides promise for people of all races.

The Strange History of School Desegregation 
By Robert Lowe
The past — and future — of desegregation in the United States.

Keeping Public Schools Public: Distorting the Civil Rights Legacy 
By Barbara Miner
How school-voucher supporters misuse the lessons of segregation to push their agenda.

No Child Left Untested: Brown v. Bush 
By Wayne Au
The Bush Administration is guilty of twisting the rhetoric of Brown to promote the dubious No Child Left Behind Act.

Brown, Latinos and Equality 
An Interview with Tony Baez by Catherine Capellaro
Long before the Supreme Court ruling in 1954, Latino activists were fighting segregation and expanding the definition of equal education.

Closing the Gap 
An Interview with Ohio State Senator C. J. Prentiss by Catherine Capellaro
How educators and policymakers can tackle the racial gaps in student achievement.

Paige Abuses the Apartheid Metaphor
By Bill Bigelow
Bush’s education secretary distorts the history of apartheid as he advances the Republican education agenda.

“Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club”
By Rita Tenorio
How to effectively raise issues of race with young children.

Fairness First 
By Stephanie Walters
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ruby Bridges help set the stage for learning about injustice.

Kids Fight for Civil Rights 
By Mary C. Turck
Two stories to inspire students.

Teaching Ideas: Kids Fight for Civil Rights 
By Kelley Dawson Salas and Bob Peterson
A few suggested discussion questions and activities.

Exploring Race Relations 
By Lisa Espinosa
A Mexican-American teacher tackles racial prejudice in her seventh-grade classroom.

Warriors Don’t Cry: Brown Comes to Little Rock 
By Linda Christensen
A role play exercise brings Melba Pattillo Beals’ classic book about the Little Rock Nine to life for students.

Warriors Don’t Cry: Acting for Justice 
By Linda Christensen
Teaching students how to navigate an unjust world — and how to change it.

The Music Lesson 
By Sarah Stucki
A student remembers how an insensitive teacher humilated a Native-American classmate.

A School Year Like No Other: Eyes on the Prize 
By Bill Bigelow
A lesson on desegragation built on the landmark PBS television series.

Poetry: The Merry-Go-Round 
By Langston Hughes
With teaching ideas by Linda Christensen

Credit: Edited by Rethinking Schools. Published by Rethinking Schools, 2004.

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