Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education

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In February 1954, President Eisenhower invited Chief Justice Warren to dinner at the White House. Among the guests were well-known opponents of school desegregation. During that evening, Eisenhower commented to Warren that "law and force cannot change a man's heart." Three months later, however, the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Brown, and the contributors to this book, like people across the country, were profoundly changed by it, even though many saw ...
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Overview


In February 1954, President Eisenhower invited Chief Justice Warren to dinner at the White House. Among the guests were well-known opponents of school desegregation. During that evening, Eisenhower commented to Warren that "law and force cannot change a man's heart." Three months later, however, the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Brown, and the contributors to this book, like people across the country, were profoundly changed by it, even though many saw almost nothing change in their communities.

What Brown did was to elevate race from the country's dirty secret to its most urgent topic of conversation. This book stands alone in presenting, in one source, stories of black and white Americans, men and women, from all parts of the nation, who were public school students during the years immediately after Brown. All shared an epiphany. Some became aware of race and the burden of racial separation. Others dared to hope that the yoke of racial oppression would at last be lifted.

The editors surveyed 4750 law professors born between 1936 and 1954, received 1000 responses, and derived these forty essays from those willing to write personal accounts of their childhood experiences in the classroom and in their communities. Their moving stories of how Brown affected them say much about race relations then and now. They also provide a picture of how social change can shape the careers of an entire generation in one profession.

Contributors provide accounts from across the nation. Represented are
-de jure states, those segregated by law at the time of Brown, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia
-de facto states, those where segregation was illegal but a common practice, including California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Selected as an "Outstanding" University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.
2010 AAUP Bibliography

...everyone should read this fascinating anthology.
--Kansas History

These are deeply moving personal perspectives on the civil rights era, revealing in vivid detail how children across the nation lived out the dilemmas of race in their families, schools, and neighborhoods.
--Kip Kosek, American Studies, George Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826516190
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 2/23/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Mildred Wigfall Robinson was in the fourth grade in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, when Brown v. Board was decided. She received her elementary and secondary education in the state's schools, which remained segregated, then graduated from Fisk University. She is Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor, University of Virginia School of Law.

Richard J. Bonnie was in the eighth grade in Norfolk, Virginia, when the public schools were closed to resist the Supreme Court's decision in Brown. He is Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law, Hunton & Williams Research Professor, and Director, Institute of Law, Psychiatry & Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Richard J. Bonnie Bonnie, Richard J. Mildred Wigfall Robinson Robinson, Mildred Wigfall 1

Pt. I The Context - Skin Color and Walls

1 Learning about Skin Color Marina Angel Angel, Marina 11

2 Segregated Proms in 2003 Alfred Dennis Mathewson Mathewson, Alfred Dennis 16

3 The Wall Kate Nace Day Day, Kate Nace 21

4 And the Walls Came Tumblin' Down Harvey A. Feldman Feldman, Harvey A. 23

5 The Commutative Property of Arithmetic Robert Laurence Laurence, Robert 26

Pt. II De Jure States and the District of Columbia

Alabama

6 Training in Alabama Paulette J. Delk Delk, Paulette J. 33

7 Loss of Innocence Angela Mae Kupenda Kupenda, Angela Mae 36

8 Toto, I Have a Feeling We Are Still in Kansas Sharon E. Rush Rush, Sharon E. 43

Florida

9 Becoming a Legal Troublemaker Michael Allan Wolf Wolf, Michael Allan 51

Georgia

10 Color-Blind in Georgia Otis H. Stephens Stephens, Otis H. 59

Louisiana

11 Taking a Stand Alex J. Hurder Hurder, Alex J. 65

Maryland

12 Seeing the Hollow Robert A. Burt Burt, Robert A. 67

13 A Glen Echo Passage Robert B. Keiter Keiter, Robert B. 72

Mississippi

14 I Can't Play with You No More Edward C. Brewer III Brewer, Edward C., III 79

15 A White Boy from Mississippi W. Lewis Burke Burke, W. Lewis 83

16 A Journey of Conscience Samuel M. Davis Davis, Samuel M. 90

North Carolina

17 Promise and Paradox Charles E. Daye Daye, Charles E. 95

18 A Different Kind of Education Davison M. Douglas Douglas, Davison M. 103

South Carolina

19 Sacrifice, Opportunity, and the New South Mildred Wigfall Robinson Robinson, Mildred Wigfall 107

Tennessee

20 Crossing Invisible Lines Linda A. Malone Malone, Linda A. 115

21Segregation in Memphis Phoebe Weaver Williams Williams, Phoebe Weaver 123

Virginia

22 What I Learned When Massive Resistance Closed My School Richard J. Bonnie Bonnie, Richard J. 135

23 Standing Up for Brown in Danville Richard Bourne Bourne, Richard 143

24 Urgent Conversations Earl C. Dudley, Jr. Dudley, Earl C., Jr. 149

25 Virginia Confronts a "Statesmanlike Decision" David W. Miller Miller, David W. 153

26 Brown as Catalyst Blake D. Morant Morant, Blake D. 157

Washington, D.C.

27 Equality and Sorority during the Decade after Brown Taunya Lovell Banks Banks, Taunya Lovell 161

28 "What Are You Doing Here?" An Autobiographical Fragment Louis Michael Seidman Seidman, Louis Michael 166

Pt. III De Facto States

California

29 Brown's Ambiguous Legacy Alex M. Johnson, Jr. Johnson, Alex M., Jr. 171

30 Public Education in Los Angeles: Past and Present Paul Marcus Marcus, Paul 176

Illinois

31 The Discrete and Insular Majority Craig M. Bradley Bradley, Craig M. 181

32 Princess in the Tower Elaine W. Shoben Shoben, Elaine W. 184

Kansas

33 Shades of Brown Charles Marvin Marvin, Charles 191

Massachusetts

34 Brown Comes to Boston: A Courtside View Terry Jean Seligmann Seligmann, Terry Jean 195

Missouri

35 Checkerboard Segregation in the 1950s Larry I. Palmer Palmer, Larry I. 201

New Jersey

36 With One Hand Waving Free Michael Perlin Perlin, Michael 209

New York

37 Indirect and Substantial Effect Anthony R. Baldwin Baldwin, Anthony R. 215

Ohio

38 Brown Goes North Michael H. Hoffheimer Hoffheimer, Michael H. 225

Washington

39 The Virtues of Public Education Susan L. DeJarnatt DeJarnatt, Susan L. 231

Wisconsin

40 Entering Another's Circle Kathryn R. Urbonya Urbonya, Kathryn R. 235

App The Survey Richard J. Bonnie Bonnie, Richard J. Mildred Wigfall Robinson Robinson, Mildred Wigfall 241

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