Feb 122004
 
Authors: Kim Barone

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

Rights Movement.

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,

Lewis said.

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

happenstance.”

Instead, it was directly influenced by the previous involvement

of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored

People.

“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?”

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