Epilogue: The Legacy of Brown

  • Waldo E. MartinJr.
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


In a penetrating assessment of black participation in Reconstruction politics, W. E. B. Du Bois judged those significant individual and collective efforts to substantiate black freedom “a splendid failure.” He explained that whites thought Reconstruction would fail because of innate black incompetence. The exact opposite happened, however. Black politicians exercised their rights and shouldered their responsibilities competently; in fact, they acquitted themselves as well as, and often better than, their white cohorts. Rather than confirming black incapacity, black Reconstruction confirmed human equality. This exemplary illustration of black achievement in spite of powerful white opposition, Du Bois maintained, was “splendid.”


School Desegregation School Segregation Federal Mandate Residential Integration Black Institution 
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  1. 1.
    Gary Orfield, Susan Eaton, et al., Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education (New York: New Press, 1996), 58–59, 64–65.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bedford/St. Martin’s 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Waldo E. MartinJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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