For the millions of Americans who’ve come of age in recent decades, it may seem hard to believe, but there was a time in U.S. history in which the Republican Party (i.e. the party of Lincoln) often led the fight to combat racism in America, while many Democrats — especially in the South — dragged their feet. Today, May 17, offers a potent reminder of that long ago-expired reality as it is the 63rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous, landmark ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.
Read once more the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, a Republican appointed by a Republican president:
“Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group…Any language in contrary to this finding is rejected. We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Now try to imagine any of the modern day conservative ideologues who inhabit the Court — much less any of the extremists who would lower themselves by accepting a nomination from the current Prevaricator-in-chief — authoring any such powerful and progressive words. And if we could somehow bring back to life the troubled haters and segregators who sought to resist the Court’s ruling in the years that followed the Brown ruling, there can be little doubt as to what their stance would be vis a vis the current inhabitant of the White House — much less as to which side they would take in the modern ideological debate between those who want to save public education and make it work for all and those who want to crucify what they derisively refer to as “government schools” on the disingenuous altar of “school choice.”