Courts & Justice Law Journal
Advocatus Iustitia Aeque
1 Cts. & Just. L.J.
ARTICLE | VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
How Brown v. Board of Education Actually Ended: The Forgotten Final Chapter of the Twentieth Century’s Most Famous Case
by Peter Beck, Yale Law School 2019
1 Cts. & Just. L.J. 78 (2019)
While everyone knows the story of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and 1955, few people realize that the litigation actually lasted until 1999. Not related or follow-up cases—the “Case of the Century” itself was on the Kansas District Court’s docket until the very end of that century. Plaintiffs who began as Topeka schoolchildren in the early years of the Brown litigation ended up as parents of Topeka schoolchildren in the same case’s later stages. Given the endless and deserved amount of focus Brown has received, the near-complete lack of attention on the last four decades of the case is remarkable. The long history of Brown—again, the case itself, not just its legacy—traces the entire path of segregation, desegregation, and resegregation in modern American public schools. Most scholarship on Brown focuses on its first five years; this Article focuses on its next four decades. Through unpublished court records and overlooked decisions, this Article answers a question we have remarkably forgotten to ask: how did the Supreme Court’s most famous case actually end? What does the half-century struggle to integrate Topeka’s schools tell us about desegregation litigation and equal protection in American schools?
Humoud Y. Alfadhli
/ May 2019 / C&JLJ _____________________________________________