All Deliberate Speed

Topics: Racial segregation, Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (2434 words) Published: April 28, 2006
"Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."i These were the words uttered by the Supreme Court on may 17, 1954 in the ruling of the Brown vs. Board of Education Case that overturned the Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling of fifty-eight years earlier which stated that separate but equal was not unconstitutional. Brown is viewed perhaps as the most significant case on race in America's history.i It seemed to call for a new era in which Black children and White children would have equal opportunities to achieve the proverbial American Dream . However the victory was perhaps premature and immediately caused hostility by Whites opposed to integration, who went to the extent of saying that many Blacks were retarded and that tuberculosis and venereal disease would spread. Their point was that integration would destroy their way of live.i The Court action thereafter can be seen as sympathetic towards Whites when they added to the ruling that the schools should integrate "with all deliberate speed."i The apparent victory was compromised from this point on because the denotation of the ruling meant ‘slow' and resisters were allowed to end segregation on their own timetable. All Deliberate Speed, by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. offers his personal reflections on the historic civil rights decision of Brown vs. Board of Education, as well as an extensive discussion on why the Brown decision, coming at a time of great racial inequality in America, marked a critical effort by the Supreme Court to state that legalized racial inequality in America would no longer be tolerated. Ogletree later goes in depth with the social and historical impart of the Brown decision and how he was personally impacted by the decision and concludes with a personal discussion of the legacy of Brown in the twenty-first century.

All Deliberate Speed is the culmination of fifty years of personal reflections of a "Brown baby." Ogletree had three goals in mind when writing this book. He wanted to demonstrate that Brown not only raised new obstacles to segregation in legal civil social contexts but also challenged the assumption that there was no option but loyalty to the status quo. He then goes on to discuss the important work of lawyers who started the legal fight for racial integration decades before the Brown decision, the obstacles they faced and overcame, and the disappointment they eventually experienced, as they saw a critical decision weakened not only by the legislative and executive branches of the government but by the same Court, as its membership to conservatives who turned their backs on the mandate articulated in Brown. Finally he brings into this book his personal reflections on Brown during his lifetime. Ogletree recounts his story through the various stages of maturity and self discoveries he underwent and takes the reader on that journey. He begins with his childhood encounters with race, his experiences in college and law schools as a beneficiary of Brown and affirmative action programs, and the impact that the end of legal segregation had in his life. He comes to the conclusion that "To be blind to race is to be blind to reality," and that this country will always be divided into two nations separated by race, income and opportunity because of the race relations established since the colonization of America. It is for this very reason that he doubts there will ever be a time when affirmative action programs will be unnecessary and become a relic of the past in a race-blind nation unless major steps are taken to attribute reparations to African Americans who have worked hard and have thrived against all odds in the face of slavery then segregation and now discrimination.i "With all deliberate speed,"i echoed the Supreme Court unanimously during the Brown case. This case was quite different in that it was the first time that the balance of power was not maintained and the judicial branch overstepped its boundary into the...
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