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Mayor Gray Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Historic Brown v. Board of Education Ruling Ordering School Desegregation

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mayor Gray Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Historic Brown v. Board of Education Ruling Ordering School Desegregation

Decision Resulted Partially from Case Filed in D.C.; Mayor Says Work Still to Be Done

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The unanimous decision – handed down by the high court on May 17, 1954 – takes its name from a Kansas case that was one of five similar school-segregation cases the court heard simultaneously. The other cases originated in South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliott), Virginia (Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County), Delaware (Gebhart v. Belton), and the District (Bolling v. Sharpe).

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Brown decision to the Civil Rights Movement which followed as well as its central place in the long arc of American history,” said Mayor Gray. “I am proud that the District was part of that decision. Thanks to the courageous plaintiffs in the Brown case and the good work of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall and others, America took a giant step toward fulfilling its founding promise of freedom and justice for all six decades ago.”

Mayor Gray continued: “However, despite being 60 years removed and light years ahead of where we were in 1954 in terms of living up to our nation’s ideals, we still have a long way to go today when it comes to de facto segregation in public education. While the District’s public schools are no longer racially segregated by law, there remain significant achievement gaps between white and minority students, and between students from advantaged backgrounds west of Rock Creek and those from largely disadvantaged backgrounds east of the Anacostia River. We must continue to do all that we can to improve our public-education system so that it lives up to the original Bolling v. Sharpe plaintiffs’ desire of providing equitable educational opportunities to all students.”