Monday, September 24 marks the 50th Anniversary of the day when nine African American students integrated Little Rock Central High School escorted by armed National Guard troops. This dramatic episode in the civil rights movement occurred three years after the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Brown v. Board of Education, that racially segregated schools violated the Constitution. Half a century later, with the echoes of last week’s discussion and protests over the Jena Six still ringing in our ears, we know that the struggle for civil rights continues in too many places in this nation.
Segregation remains the norm in many urban schools, not only here in D.C. but in major cities around the country. School segregation reflects housing patterns and the demographics of local communities. Efforts to force school integration through busing students or other forms of social engineering received a considerable blow in June of this year when the Supreme Court ruled that public schools cannot seek to achieve integration through using tactics that take a student’s race into account.
During the last week, the Trinity community engaged in a vital discussion of issues surrounding the Jena Six. This week, let’s broaden the discussion to include thoughts on what should be done as we approach the presidential election in 2008 to make the quest for civil rights and equal justice a more prominent feature of every candidate’s platform. Please continue to send in your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the envelope icon below.
Check out these sources:
Read Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum’s column “It’s the Same Old Story in Jena Today” in the Washington Post, September 23, 2007
See Little Rock Nine
Democracy Now link to HBO Documentary on the Little Rock Nine
“The Women Behind the Men” by Gail Collins, column in the New York Times, September 22, 1007
See Chicago Tribune article
See and hear print and audio clips from the 2007 busing cases at the Supreme Court