History Matters: Book Recommendations from the Grateful American Book Prize

Showing our children that their past is prelude to their future, with book recommendations
ARLINGTON, Va. - May 14, 2024 - PRLog -- By Ed Lengel for David Bruce Smith's Grateful American Book Prize

Brown v. Board of Education

One of the most important legal decisions of the twentieth century took place seventy years ago. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional. The concept of "separate but equal" schooling had solidified in the wake of the 1896 Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson. In the 1954 case Brown v. Board of education of Topeka, Kansas, however, Justice Earl Warren declared that segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The ruling was controversial then and remains so. Some legal scholars believe that the Supreme Court had chosen to establish new laws on the basis of social rights, instead of doing its duty to follow established law and precedent. In any event, a follow-up ruling-unanimous like the first­ in May 1955, ordered states to begin desegregating schools "with all possible speed." The court's practice of what came to be called "judicial activism" would continue for decades.

A few years later–in September 1957–nine African American teenagers attempted to enter the segregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. White teenagers and parents, backed by the state National Guard, repeatedly blocked the children from entering. Finally, President Dwight D. Eisenhower brought the state National Guard under Federal authority and ordered them, with U.S. Army troops, to escort the Little Rock Nine into school. Desegregation had begun in earnest.

For more information about Brown v. Board of Education, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Michael J. Klarman's Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Grateful American Book Prize is awarded each year to high quality, 7th to 9th grade level, historical fiction, and non-fiction, about events and personalities that have shaped the United States since its founding. For more book recommendations and information about the annual award visit https://gratefulamericanbookprize.org/.

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