Talking about the landmark case of Brown v. The Board of
Education on campus Thursday, Chance Lewis expressed both his
satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the case.
“Disparages still exist 50 years later,” said Lewis, assistant
professor of education at CSU.
Lewis said a positive aspect of the case is that it resolved the
question as to whether African Americans and Caucasians could be
educated together. He also said it was the impetus for the Civil
As a result, ” African American students can still pursue an
education at places like CSU, the University of Michigan or
Harvard,” Lewis said.
Negative aspects also came from the case.
“Despite victory in the highest court, desegregation was not
immediate, easy or complete,” he said.
It also had negative effects on African American teachers and
failed to promote the academic achievement of African Americans,
Martin Luther King, Jr., also had a nightmare, Lewis said.
“King saw the ghettos in the schools as a nightmare for the
black community,” he said.
May 17, 1954, is known as the historic day when the U.S. Supreme
Court ended segregation in schools.
It overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, a 1896 Supreme Court decision
that supported the “separate but equal doctrine,” which stated that
separate facilities for African Americans were acceptable as long
as they were equal.
” Brown v. The Board is one of the top five critical issues by
the Supreme Court,” said Laurence Pendleton, associate general
council at CSU. “It forced schools to allow equal access.”
Although Lewis said the Brown case “did not come from
Instead, it was directly influenced by the previous involvement
of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
“Certain (goals) were set first as to the strategy of what
should be attacked,” he said, noting that it took 40 years for the
NAACP to know where it wanted to go in terms of desegregation.
However, Lewis said today there are still inequalities where
African American schools continue to face inadequate facilities
such as insufficient libraries, untrained teachers or lack of
indoor plumbing. He also pointed out there are still schools in the
inner city that are still entirely African-American. Lewis urged
African American students at CSU to try to get the most out of
their education while on campus.
“Where are your professors trying to lead you?” he said.
Lewis also challenged the students of color on campus to not
take their presence lightly while at CSU.
“People fought, died and labored just for us to sit in a room
together like this,” Lewis said, referring to the racially mixed
audience. “Are you going to take the torch and carry it or are you
going to blow out the flame?”