The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education was just one event that occurred in a period of economic and educational changes for many groups in the United States. In the midst of these changes, Brown was a “detonating spark” that focused the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, made the Supreme Court the ally of social rights, increased the use of social science data in government, and prompted a counterreaction from the majority. On its face, the decision in Brown only addresses the impropriety of segregation, but it has served as a springboard for equal rights, not only among African Americans, but also among all other minority groups. In this article, the author discusses the significance of the Brown decision for multiple groups, yet shows how limited Brown has been in dealing with contemporary forms of institutionalized racism.
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