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Cover for the book Choosing Equality

Choosing Equality: Essays and Narratives on the Desegregation Experience

“It was a lot easier to get Rosa Parks a seat on the front of the bus than it has been to get Rosa Park’s children a genuine opportunity to own the bus company.”

—from the Foreword, Vice President Joe Biden

“This is an excellent collection of essays dealing with the impact of the Supreme Court’s historic 1954 opinion in Brown v. Board of Education. It is a must-read for anyone trying to understand the implications of the Brown decision for American society.”

Kevin D. Brown, Maurer School of Law,
Indiana University

University Park, PA—On November 4, 2008, Americans voted in a presidential election. By that evening, it was clear history would be made. Americans turned their backs on segregation and overwelmingly cast their ballots for a junior senator from Illinois. Barack Obama would become the first African American president in U.S. history. How will this impact future race relations within the United States? Will racial equality find a new voice as Americans have found in their new president?

Fifty years have passed since the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. This famous case, along with its more recent counterpart, Parents Involved v. Seattle School District, is the focal point of discussion on school desegregation in Choosing Equality. Former Delaware Senator and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. opens with a foreword highlighting that the fight for equality is far from over, despite some progress in the past 50 years. The book, a collection of 17 original essays, examines the school desegregation experience, focusing on particular cases in the state of Delaware, set within the larger national context of race relations.

This unique work, divided into three sections, weaves the voices of many expert contributors into one core message: the fight for desegregation and equality did not end 50 years ago with the decision from Brown, but continues today. The first section uses the Brown case to engage current controversy over the desegregation experience by examining the case in appropriate historical and epistemological contexts. The second section focuses on all efforts made to enforce and resist Brown’s mandate, both legal and not. The last section delves into current racial issues in education and reflects on the place of the desegregation effort in the ongoing struggle for equality.

Contributors to the work include: Juan Williams, senior correspondent for National Public Radio; Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School; Jack Greenberg, former Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; James T. Patterson, Ford Foundation Professor of History at Brown University; and Patricia J. Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

Robert L. Hayman, Jr. is Professor of Law at Widener University. Among his publications is The Smart Culture: Society, Intelligence, and Law (1998).

Leland Ware is Louis L. Redding Professor for the Study of Law and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. He is the co-author of “Brown v. Board of Education”: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution (2003), which won the Langum Prize for Legal History in 2004, and Thurgood Marshall: Freedom’s Defender (1999). He served as a trial attorney for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice from 1979 to 1984.

Jack M. Balkin, Joseph R. Biden, Orlando Camp, Robert J. Cottrol, Paul Finkelman, Michele Fuetsch, Roger L. Goldman, Jack Greenberg, Nancy Levit, Ed Kee, David K. King, Robert J. Lipkin, Littleton Mitchell, James T. Patterson, Jeffrey A. Raffel, Collins J. Seitz Jr., Jea Street, Juan Williams, Patricia J. Williams, Annette Woolard-Provine

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