Brown v. Board of Education: A Documentary History

Fiftieth Anniversary Edition

This critical contribution marks the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The book lets the reader come to grips with the fascinating record of a case in which facts have made a more thrilling story than fiction. The suit involved civil rights giants Thurgood Marshall and the leaders of the NAACP. Their goals were lofty: not content with merely improving the conditions for black children in a single school district, they chose to fight for an end to all segregation. They mapped out a careful strategy as early as 1939, picking the most promising cases, achieving lower court decisions, and finally combining the five cases for the countdown to Brown before the Supreme Court.

The book contains a general introduction and extensive commentary. But it attempts for the most part to let the majestic record of Brown speak for itself.

Mark Whitman is a professor of history at Towson State University. He is the editor of Removing a Badge of Slavery: The Record of Brown v. Board of Education and The Irony of Desegregation Law, 1955-1995, both available from Markus Wiener.