Brown v. Board: What It Means Today

Overview: 

Examine the impact of Brown v. Board and the state of school segregation today using interviews with 14 Americans from Teaching Tolerance magazine.

Delve more deeply into the legacy and impact of Brown v. Board using activities that build on Teaching Tolerance magazine's interviews with 14 prominent Americans, Brown Is...

1. Conduct interviews with people in your local community who experienced de jure segregation, who worked to overcome local school segregation or who advocate for contemporary school equity. Use Teaching Tolerance's interview questions as starting points. Compile written interviews into a booklet; distribute copies to school board members and other community leaders. If audio is available, work with local radio stations to create student-produced segments on Brown.

2. In her interview, Beverly Daniel Tatum says: "Many social organizations that were once all white are now 'integrated.' However, … residential segregation has largely persisted for African Americans. White flight continues to be a reality in urban/suburban communities, and worship services continue to be highly segregated." Draw, photograph or describe in writing the places where you feel segregated. Create an "A World Apart" bulletin board display for the classroom or school hallway.

3. The people Teaching Tolerance interviewed believe that the promise of Brown has yet to be fully achieved. Inside your school's walls, does self-imposed segregation still exist? What are the boundary lines that divide students from one another? Are race and ethnicity still boundaries? What about style, athletic ability or wealth?

4. Convene into groups to talk about the social boundaries in your school and to identify ways to overcome those divisions. See www.mixitup.org.