Choosing Equality: Essays and Narratives on the Desegregation Experience

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The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 has long been heralded as a landmark in the progress of civil rights in the United States. But as the forces opposing affirmative action and supporting resegregation have gained ground in recent years, its legacy has been questioned. Some wonder whether the decision did more harm than good, by fomenting a backlash, or whether the desegregation it brought about might not have been accomplished anyway through legislation. Others worry about the racial paternalism they see as inherent in the desegregation project and reflected in the Brown ruling.

Choosing Equality includes contributions that give voice to these concerns, yet it provides a strong challenge to this revisionist interpretation. It does so in a unique way, by positioning the issues in the overall national context but focusing on them in the experience of one state, Delaware, that stands as a microcosm of the larger conflict. The State’s significance to Brown lies in its contributing two of the five cases that were consolidated in the Court’s review of the litigation. But Delaware’s own history registered the racial conflict at the heart of the American dilemma: a slave state that fought on the side of the North in the Civil War, it experienced black migration to its cities and the ghettoization that followed but also had black farmers working as sharecroppers next to whites in its southern section. Moreover, while it saw massive resistance to desegregation, it also was the site of one of the largest and most peaceful metropolitan desegregation efforts.

This volume offers not only academic analyses of Delaware’s experience of Brown, set in the broader framework of the debate over its significance at the national level, but also the personal voices of many of the leading participants, from judges and lawyers down to community activists and the students who lived through this important era of the civil rights movement and saw how it changed their future by giving them hope.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271034331
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2013
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 406
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert L. Hayman Jr. is Professor of Law at Widener University. Among his publications is The Smart Culture: Society, Intelligence, and Law (1998).

Leland Ware is Louis L. Redding Professor for the Study of Law and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. He is the co-author of “Brown v. Board of Education”: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution (2003), which won the Langum Prize for Legal History in 2004, and Thurgood Marshall: Freedom's Defender (1999). He served as a trial attorney for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice from 1979 to 1984.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by the Hon. Joseph R. Biden Jr.


Introduction by Robert L. Hayman Jr. and Leland Ware

Part I. The Context: Race and Segregation

1. Robert L. Hayman Jr.: A History of Race in Delaware: 1639–1950

2. Interview of the Honorable Collins Jacques Seitz Conducted by the Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. and by David V. Stivison

3. Delaware Voices: Collins J. Seitz Jr.

4. Annette Woolard-Provine: Remembering Louis Redding

5. Juan Williams: Remembering Thurgood Marshall

6. Robert J. Cottrol: The Difference That Brown Made

7. Jack Greenberg: A Glass Half Full

Part II. The Experience: Education and Desegregation

8. Leland Ware: Educational Equity and Brown v. Board of Education:

Fifty Years of School Desegregation in Delaware

9. Orlando Camp and Ed Kee: Lost Opportunity: The Failure to Integrate Milford's Public Schools in 1954

10. Delaware Voices: Littleton Mitchell

11. An Interview with the Honorable Murray M. Schwartz

12. Roger L. Goldman: The Resegregation Decisions and the New Federalism

13. Delaware Voices: Jae Street

Part III. The Legacies: Desegregation and Resegregation

14. James T. Patterson: Legacies of Brown v. Board of Education

15. Robert J. Lipkin: Haunted by Brown

16. Paul Finkelman: Civil Rights in Historical Context: In Defense of Brown

17 Jack M. Balkin: Brown, Social Movements, and Social Change

18 Nancy Levit: Race and Sex Segregation in Schools Fifty Years after Brown

19 Patricia J. Williams: Pre-White and Post-Black: The Aesthetics of Oppression

20 Jeffrey A. Raffel: Charter Schools in the Context of Brown: Panacea

or Faustian Bargaining?

21 Michele Fuetsch and Leland Ware: Race, Class, and Resegregation:

Delaware Schools Fifty Years after Brown

22 Robert L. Hayman Jr. and Leland Ware: The Geography of Discrimination:

The Seattle and Louisville Cases and the Legacy

of Brown v. Board of Education

Bibliographic Essay by David K. King



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