About this Event
Leland Ware, Louis L. Redding Chair and Professor of Law & Public Policy who will speak on his book, A Century of Segregation: Race, Class and Disadvantage, that explains how race, class and spatial isolation intersect in ways that uniquely disadvantage African Americans and other ethnic minorities. The narrative begins with the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson which officially endorsed segregation. Blacks and whites were born in separate hospitals, they attended different schools and were buried in segregated graveyards. Facilities for blacks were always separate but never equal.
In the 1930s the NAACP launched its heroic fight against segregation. The campaign consisted of a long-range, carefully-orchestrated, litigation campaign. Segregation was challenged with lawsuits insisting that black schools be made physically and otherwise equal to white schools. A series of successful “equalization” suits led to the direct challenge in Brown v. Board of Education. That landmark decision inspired the Civil Rights Movement. A decade of marches, boycotts, and mass protests persuaded Congress to enact the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s.
But, the vestiges of the Jim Crow regime linger. High levels of residential separation persist causing public schools in urban communities to remain segregated. African Americans in racially-mixed schools are subjected to disproportionate levels of expulsions and suspensions. Implicit bias causes black students to be treated differently, and less favorably, than their white counterparts.
In the concluding chapters, A Century of Segregation shows that conditions for ethnic minorities are better now than they were a generation ago. But, the story of the nation’s black and brown communities is a tale of two cities; one educated and affluent adjacent to another suffering from grinding poverty and a lack of opportunities for uplift. African Americans and Latino/as possess less wealth than whites, fewer opportunities for upward mobility, lower income levels and fewer chances to build wealth.
For those able to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Civil Rights revolution, the gains have been dramatic. For those left behind in the nation’s impoverished communities, the obstacles to advancement are more daunting today than they were a generation ago. These conditions are exacerbated immeasurably by President Trump’s active promotion of a hostile racial climate.