Black Leaders Commemorate Brown v. Board of Education at 60

There is still work to do in education equality.

The More Things Change... - The U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated public schools was a landmark moment in the history of the nation and the civil rights movement. But 60 years later, it is clear that while progress has been made, African-American and low-income children are not receiving an equal level of education. Here the Obamas and other Black leaders opine on the opportunities they and others enjoyed as a result of the ruling and how far the nation has yet to go.  ?Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick)   (Photo: Times-Picayune /Landov)

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The More Things Change... - The U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated public schools was a landmark moment in the history of the nation and the civil rights movement. But 60 years later, it is clear that while progress has been made, African-American and low-income children are not receiving an equal level of education. Here the Obamas and other Black leaders opine on the opportunities they and others enjoyed as a result of the ruling and how far the nation has yet to go.  —Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick) (Photo: Times-Picayune /Landov)

First Lady Michelle Obama - "The truth is that Brown vs. Board of Ed. isn't just about our history, it's about our future.? Now, our laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but nothing in the Constitution says we have to eat together in the lunchroom, or live together in the same neighborhoods. There's no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny," said First Lady Michelle Obama at the Topeka School District Senior Recognition Day. "So the answers to many of our challenges today can't necessarily be found in our laws. These changes also need to take place in our hearts and in our minds. And so, graduates, it's up to all of you to lead the way, to drag my generation and your grandparents' generation along with you."     (Photo: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

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First Lady Michelle Obama - "The truth is that Brown vs. Board of Ed. isn't just about our history, it's about our future.… Now, our laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but nothing in the Constitution says we have to eat together in the lunchroom, or live together in the same neighborhoods. There's no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny," said First Lady Michelle Obama at the Topeka School District Senior Recognition Day. "So the answers to many of our challenges today can't necessarily be found in our laws. These changes also need to take place in our hearts and in our minds. And so, graduates, it's up to all of you to lead the way, to drag my generation and your grandparents' generation along with you."   (Photo: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

President Barack Obama - "As we commemorate this historic anniversary, we recommit ourselves to the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms.  We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise. And we remember that change did not come overnight ? that it took many years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God?s children. We will never forget the men, women and children who took extraordinary risks in order to make our country more fair and more free," said President Obama. "Today, it falls on us to honor their legacy by taking our place in their march, and doing our part to perfect the union we love."  (Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

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President Barack Obama - "As we commemorate this historic anniversary, we recommit ourselves to the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms.  We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise. And we remember that change did not come overnight — that it took many years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God’s children. We will never forget the men, women and children who took extraordinary risks in order to make our country more fair and more free," said President Obama. "Today, it falls on us to honor their legacy by taking our place in their march, and doing our part to perfect the union we love." (Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder - "I was just 3 years old in 1954, when Brown was decided.  Thanks to some of the pioneers in this room, my generation was the first to grow up in a world in which 'separate but equal' was no longer the law of the land.  Even as a child growing up in New York City, I understood, as I learned about the decision, that its impact was truly groundbreaking ? bringing the law in line with the fundamental truth of the equality of our humanity," said Attorney General Eric Holder at an NAACP Legal Defense Fund luncheon to commemorate the decision. "Yet, although Brown marked a major victory, like anyone old enough to remember the turbulence of the 1960s, I also knew ? and saw firsthand ? that this country wouldn?t automatically translate the words of Brown into substantive change."     (Photo:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Attorney General Eric Holder - "I was just 3 years old in 1954, when Brown was decided.  Thanks to some of the pioneers in this room, my generation was the first to grow up in a world in which 'separate but equal' was no longer the law of the land.  Even as a child growing up in New York City, I understood, as I learned about the decision, that its impact was truly groundbreaking — bringing the law in line with the fundamental truth of the equality of our humanity," said Attorney General Eric Holder at an NAACP Legal Defense Fund luncheon to commemorate the decision. "Yet, although Brown marked a major victory, like anyone old enough to remember the turbulence of the 1960s, I also knew — and saw firsthand — that this country wouldn’t automatically translate the words of Brown into substantive change."   (Photo:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick - "I remember a friend of mine describing Brown v. Board of Education as being the example of sending the kids in to do what the adults wouldn't do. The adults wouldn't live together, wouldn't integrate the neighborhoods so we sent the kids in to integrate the schools," said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on CNN. 
"And the power, the enrichment of leading an integrated life around people who were different, bringing them to your table, bringing them into your ? into your lives, into your friendships, into your love, which is how my wife and I have tried to raise our kids and I think has made for a much richer life for us. And I think in many, many other quarters, a richer country."    (Photo:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick - "I remember a friend of mine describing Brown v. Board of Education as being the example of sending the kids in to do what the adults wouldn't do. The adults wouldn't live together, wouldn't integrate the neighborhoods so we sent the kids in to integrate the schools," said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on CNN. 
"And the power, the enrichment of leading an integrated life around people who were different, bringing them to your table, bringing them into your — into your lives, into your friendships, into your love, which is how my wife and I have tried to raise our kids and I think has made for a much richer life for us. And I think in many, many other quarters, a richer country." (Photo:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) - The Ferguson Grand Jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown is a miscarriage of justice. It is a slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail. This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value; that you may kill Black men in this country without consequences or repercussions. This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America. My heart goes out to Michael Brown's loved ones and to the loved ones of all the Michael Browns we have buried in this country.    (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) - "This decision helped students and their families understand similarities were much deeper and more significant than the differences in their skin tone, and contributed to propelling the diverse coalition of America’s civil rights movement forward," said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge. "However, we must not forget that 60 years after the Brown v. Board decision, many of our communities have reverted to segregated classrooms, where more than half to nearly 90 percent of students are of one racial or socioeconomic background. Though segregation is no longer legal, years of institutional racism and structural barriers have countered the positive effect the decision had on our nation."  (Photo:  Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina)  - As this long and complicated process continues, let us not forget that at its core, a family and community has lost a young man ? Michael Brown. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents and those who loved him as they grieve their loss. And while I know their loss is heightened by many unanswered questions surrounding his death last August, I hope that good can come out of this tragic situation.?  (Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Corbis)

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) - "As we mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, we pause and remember its impact on our nation’s education system. It plainly said that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' had no place in education and that every child, regardless of race, must have access to a quality education. The May 17 decision sparked new activism, engagement and action in the ongoing civil rights movement," said Sen. Tim Scott.  "Today, we also remember that education is one of the strongest opportunities that too many children trapped in chronically failing schools are denied. I hope this anniversary reminds everyone to recommit themselves to the vital work of providing true opportunity to all, regardless of background.” (Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Corbis)

Cecilia Marshall - "Sixty years later here we are ... we're still fighting bigotry in one form or another," said Cecilia Marshall, wife of the late Supreme Court Justice and LDF founder Thurgood Marshall. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Cecilia Marshall - "Sixty years later here we are ... we're still fighting bigotry in one form or another," said Cecilia Marshall, wife of the late Supreme Court Justice and LDF founder Thurgood Marshall. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Sherrilyn Ifill - "The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ushered in a modern America that must grapple honestly with the promise of equality and opportunity for all of its citizens,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “NAACP LDF pioneered the Brown case and today we continue to fight inequality in every walk of life — where we live, where we work and where we learn.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) - "On this important anniversary, let us remember the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued this case as a NAACP chief counsel, 'None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody... bent down and helped us pick up our boots.' Today, let us never forget the message of Brown as we work to ensure equal access to education, a strong workforce and an open door to opportunity for all," said Rep. Maxine Waters.(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) - "On this important anniversary, let us remember the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued this case as a NAACP chief counsel, 'None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody... bent down and helped us pick up our boots.' Today, let us never forget the message of Brown as we work to ensure equal access to education, a strong workforce and an open door to opportunity for all," said Rep. Maxine Waters.(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)