Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Remembering Massive Resistance to School Desegregation


The historian Charles Payne has described Brown v. Board of Education as “a milestone in search of something to signify.” Widely hailed as a symbol of Jim Crow's demise, the case is popularly understood to represent America at its best. For many, Brown symbolizes the end of segregation, a national condemnation of racism, a renewed commitment to the ideal of color-blind justice, or some combination of all of these, but Brown is equally affirmed in less celebratory narratives, in which it is seen to articulate a constitutional aspiration against which the injustice of current racial practices can be measured. Unlike the celebratory Brown, which indulges a fantasy of completion or accomplishment, this aspirational Brown marks “an appeal to law to make good on its promises” of equal citizenship and racial democracy, even if that promise remains as yet largely unfulfilled.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Charles Payne , “‘The Whole United States is Southern!’: Brown v. Board and the Mystification of Race,” Journal of American History 91 (2004)

David Garrow , “Hopelessly Hollow History: Revisionist Devaluing of Brown v. Board of Education,” Virginia Law Review 80 (1994): 151160

Mathew Lassiter and Joseph Crespino , The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Anders Walker , Jim Crow's Ghost (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Robert Post and Reva Siegel , “Popular Constitutionalism, Departmentalism, and Judicial Supremacy,” California Law Review 92 (2004):1027

Reva Siegel's “preservation-through-transformation” in “‘The Rule of Love’: Wife Beating as Prerogative and Privacy,” Yale Law Journal 105 (1996)

Reva Siegel , “Equality Talk: Antisubordination and Anticlassification Values in Constitutional Struggles Over BrownHarvard Law Review 117 (2003–2004), 14701547

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall , “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History (2005), Vol. 91, No.4 (March) 1234

Adam Fairclough , “A Political Coup d'Etat?: How the Enemies of Earl Long Overwhelmed Racial Moderation in Louisiana,” in Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction, ed. Clive Webb (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Loïc Wacquant , “Class, Race and Hyperincarceration in Revanchist America,” Daedalus 139(3) (Summer 2010): 7490

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 9
Total number of PDF views: 28 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 213 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.