Without a sword or a shield: the fighting army behind Brown
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The struggle of Black Americans to obtain access to economic and political opportunities available to Whites in the United States began with the arrival of the first enslaved persons in 1619 and continues today. Men and women of courage led the struggle, many of whom are well-known to history. There are many others, however, whose contributions are lost. In losing those stories, the history of the Black resistance movement also loses much of its human pathos. Looking at Black resistance through the stories of the individuals who participated at the ground-level in the protracted legal battle for educational equality, Brown v. Board of Education provides a unique bottom-up view of the Black resistance experience in America. While the individual stories of those who initiated and sustained the legal struggle for equal education are essential to capture, often, the success of the struggle is overstated or misrepresented. Brown created a vast sea-change in American racial relations. Some changes were positive and some not, but seventy years after the initial court decision in 1954, the quality of American public education is questionable, and the sacrifices the original families made are at risk of being for naught.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Jim Crow and the fight for education -- Leadership in the Black tradition: Four preachers and a barber -- Wives and mothers, activists and teachers -- The children: protestors and victims -- The lawyers and the judges -- Epilogue
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)