This work explores the cultural context of the groundbreaking Brown decision, which outlawed segregated schools, from the Civil War through the Plessy ruling, which held that blacks had no rights that whites were bound to honor. The authors highlight the pivotal role of the NAACP, which had long challenged customs that conflicted with the country's ideals through prior lawsuits, culminating in Brown. The authors also focus on many of the figures involved in this historic legal battle, including Charles Houston, first head of the NAACP, and Thurgood Marshall, NAACP lawyer and future Supreme Court justice. Although Brown eliminated the legal bases for the American caste system, its substantive value remains open to question. Beyond removing the legal barriers to school integration, the decision has had limited effect on the residential segregation that perpetuates segregated schools. Brown reflects both the potential and the limitations of the court's ability to reflect, influence, and reconcile cultural customs with the highest ideals of racial equality. Vernon Ford
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"Provides readers with a good overview of the most important decision by the Supreme Court in the twentieth century. The emphasis on culture as well as politics and law is particularly valuable."