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An Examination of Brown in Light of Plessy and Croson: Lessons for the 1990s
Harvard Blackletter Journal (1990)
  • Richard L. Aynes, University of Akron School of Law
The Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education stands as one of the high points in the constitutional history of the United States. The decision merits tribute not only to the Justices who made it, but also to those who successfully planned and implemented its litigation. It is impossible, however, to view Brown in its proper perspective without considering both what when before it and what came after it. Thus, Brown is intimately related to Plessy v. Ferguson and City of Richmond v. Croson. It is the purpose of this article to comment upon three aspects of Brown and to note the interpretative value of Plessy and Croson in evaluating Brown. First, Chief Justice Warren was wrong: it was Brown, and not Reynolds v. Sims, which was his greatest legacy. Second, the Brown decision was superior to Plessy, not only because of its outcome but also because of its decision-making process. Third, at a time when Croson has cast a shadow over our national ideals, the men and women of Plessy, Brown and, indeed, Croson, give examples of people who struggled with adversity and were equal to it. Their example will help see the nation through Croson and its progeny.
  • Brown,
  • Plessy,
  • Croson
Publication Date
Citation Information
Richard L. Aynes, An Examination of Brown in Light of Plessy and Croson: Lessons for the 1990s, 7 Harvard Blackletter Journal 149 (1990).