Brown v. Board of Education
May 16, 2004
Monday will mark the 50th anniversary of a unanimous Supreme Court decision that the part of the Constitution guaranteeing "equal protection of the laws" meant equal treatment for blacks and whites.
"Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," the court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education.
The ruling, just a few pages long, has since provided the foundation for civil rights issues such as housing, jobs and voting rights, and echoes within later decisions advancing rights for women and people with disabilities.
Tucson got a head start in 1951 when Superintendent Robert D. Morrow placed black teachers in schools throughout what is now the Tucson Unified School District and allowed black students to attend all-white schools.
But by the mid-1970s, TUSD was the target of a federal lawsuit brought by black and Hispanic plaintiffs over segregation and access to education.
As a result, TUSD buses students from some neighborhoods to schools across town and has a desegregation budget of roughly $60 million to support extra teachers and programs at 28 schools.
A federal judge last week ordered all sides to take the first step toward closing the case by figuring out a way to determine if TUSD has reached its desegregation goals and, if it hasn't, when it will.
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