Brown v. Board of
Education: It 'had to overcome 200 years of
SPECIAL TO THE ARIZONA
Saundra L. Taylor, 63.
The UA's senior vice president for campus life
grew up in Louisville, Ky., and was finishing
middle school when the court ruled.
By that time I had moved
to a different neighborhood where I was really
closer to the white school than the black school
but a lot of my friends still lived in the
projects. … My friends, we were all sticking
together. We admired those few we knew were
going to go do it and test it out. We saw them
as really courageous.
I think this was the beginning of
the defining of the black middle class. The
opportunities that Brown opened up for black
children in terms of their education really
helped propel the development of the middle
But as I look back on it, very
few kids from my elementary school made it all
the way through high school. We had a high
school reunion, I think it was our 20th
high-school reunion, one of my classmates was
Muhammad Ali. … We looked around and we knew how
many people weren't there. The impact it had on
me was a recognition that I had choices and
I think the problem with Brown is
it had to overcome 200 years of racism. That's a
huge weight to put on one decision. It certainly
opened the door, but what will keep the door
open is the collective will in this country to
ensure people education, to ensure access
independent of race and I see lots of signs
that's not happened.
At school districts across the
United States we see patterns where segregation
is de facto. That is because a lot of white
people have left the inner city and have moved
to the suburbs. So what you get is the schools
again are primarily Hispanic, African-American.
And also, what you're seeing, particularly in
the inner city, there aren't the same resources.
- Inger Sandal