2014 Brown Lecture Abstract
2014 Brown Lecture Abstract
A Long Shadow: The American Pursuit of Political Justice and Education Equality

James D. Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In 2014 and 2015, our nation commemorates several landmark moments in its long, unfinished struggle for political and education equality for all. This year, we observe with a mix of gratitude and disquiet the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Next year marks the sesquicentennial of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, and the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Anchored in historic milestones, the 2014 Brown Lecture examines how the constitutional framing of the equality of political power in the Reconstruction era casts a long shadow over American social justice. Furthermore, it explores how this framing continues today to shape the pursuit of all forms of equality.  In particular, the lecture addresses the interplay of political justice and education equality in the context of the great historic brinks of change since the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865: the alternative paths toward political justice that gripped the Reconstruction Congress; the five school desegregation cases combined into Brown in 1954; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and finally the current controversies over immigration and voter identification laws. 

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