Social Scientists for Social Justice: Making the Case against Segregation

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"Kenneth Clark's famous "doll tests" shocked the nation in the 1950s when he was able to demonstrate that when given a choice, African American children preferred white dolls to black dolls. These tests were part of a larger social scientific project that inspired the legal staff of the NAACP to bring the Brown vs. Board of Education lawsuit. This study and others like it showed the debilitating psychological effects of racism and segregation and had a powerful influence on the Supreme Court justices. In many ways, Kenneth Clark and other social scientists helped break the back of Southern segregation." Jackson discusses this most famous of the social scientific studies in support of Brown but he also focuses on the decade of social science research on race leading up to it to show how social scientists struggled to impact American law and policy on race and poverty. He demonstrates that without these academics, who brought their talents to bear on the most pressing issues of the day, we wouldn't enjoy the legal protections against discrimination we take for granted.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A deeply researched, clearly written account of an important subject. Thorough and well organized. Gives the reader a clear understanding of what liberal social scientists were thinking in 1954. This contribution will be of interest to both historians and social scientists.”
-Raymond Wolters,University of Delaware

“Jackson's excellent study. . . . places the fight against segregation within a much broader historical context. . . . It greatly illuminates the development of social science knowledge about the crucial topic of race in modern America.”
-History of Education Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742662
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Series: Critical America Series
  • Pages: 291
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

John P. Jackson Jr. is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education, also published by NYU Press.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Framing the Historical Problem 1
1 Background
2 The Study of Race between the Wars 17
3 Effect of World War II on the Study of Racial Prejudice 43
2 Forging the Alliance
4 The American Jewish Congress 63
5 Pre-Brown Litigation 79
3 Brown Litigation
6 Recruiting Expert Witnesses 109
7 Testimony of the Experts 125
8 Supreme Court Hearings and Decision, Brown I 153
9 Supreme Court Hearings and Decision, Brown II 182
4 Dissolution
10 Committee of Social Science Consultants 199
11 Conclusion 213
Notes 227
Bibliography 247
Index 285
About the Author 291
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