Brown v. Board of Education: It 'had to overcome 200 years of racism'
May 16, 2004

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 class. ...
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 options.
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