From Brown II to Today: A Discussion with the NAACP LDF

By Anna | May 27, 2020

On May 21, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund hosted a web event with (newly) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah Jones and LDF President Sherrilyn Ifill

The discussion focused on Brown II, which is the less well known but equally infamous supreme court ruling that came out one year after Brown v Board of Ed in 1955. It reiterated the legality of dismantling the separate school systems for Black and White students, but added that this action should proceed with “all deliberate speed.” The part that has been glossed over in many history books, certainly when I was in school, was how detrimental and deleterious this decree was to the actual promotion of integration, as it allowed each state, city and school district to “move ahead,” but with no deadline. All they had to do was say they were proceeding with speed, which, as these two experts discuss in this video, meant they never had to achieve anything at all.    

This decision is as relevant today as ever. It is a shameful mark on our history, and should be taught as such. “With all deliberate speed” opened the way, some would say intentionally, for the massive resistance by white Americans to meaningful integration.  We cannot repeat this enough: It is SO IMPORTANT for everyone, but especially white and or privileged folks, to learn the true history of our country, and the ways this history has been so seriously misrepresented in history books. We have to frame and reframe these truths, so they sink into our physical bodies. Unless and until we acknowledge these facts plainly, will we not be able to chart a new path to justice and collective liberation. Watching this video recording is a really great opportunity to delve into some of that.

A huge thank you to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as well as both speakers. You can donate to the Legal Defense Fund here. Head to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture for more of the background behind Brown I and Brown II. 

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