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Press Statement May 17, 2021

NAACP Celebrates 67th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

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Says "Nation Must Reaffirm Commitment to Equal Educational Opportunity"

Baltimore, MD – Today, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement on the 67th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education:

"Sixty-seven years ago, the Supreme Court issued its seminal unanimous ruling outlawing segregation in our nation's public schools. The ruling represented a transformative affirmation of racial equality and became a foundational principle of our legal system and our democracy.

We must use this moment to reaffirm our commitment to equal educational opportunity. Decades after the Brown decision, today's public schools remain largely segregated. Black children are five times as likely as white children to attend schools that are highly segregated by race and ethnicity.

We call upon educators and policymakers at the national, state, and local level to reinvigorate efforts to provide all children with a quality education. We call upon the U.S. Department of Justice and civil rights agencies throughout the country to vigorously enforce the Constitution and our civil rights laws to ensure equal educational opportunity. The pursuit of equality in education requires constant vigilance; it represents one of our highest ideals and most cherished values.

The Brown decision demonstrated that the courts are critical guardians of our civil rights. The decision represents decades of hard-fought progress on issues of civil rights and equal protection. Shockingly, at least thirty of Donald Trump's judicial nominees refused to acknowledge that Brown was correctly decided. They now sit on our federal courts all across the country.

We take this occasion to call upon President Biden to appoint civil rights lawyers — and more specifically, equal educational opportunity lawyers — to the federal bench. We need judges modeled after Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley and Robert Carter, who litigated groundbreaking equal education cases before being appointed to the judiciary.

On the 25th anniversary of Brown, President Jimmy Carter convened hundreds of civil rights leaders at the White House to commemorate the ruling and announce the nomination of NAACP General Counsel Nathaniel Jones to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. As a civil rights lawyer, Judge Jones had litigated numerous school desegregation cases, and his nomination on that day demonstrated the president's commitment to equal justice. Today, we urgently need lawyers appointed to the federal courts who have similarly devoted their careers to advancing equal educational opportunity and to helping our nation realize the promise of Brown.



Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund, also referred to as the NAACP-LDF, was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.