April 7, 1991
"Separate But Equal," ABC's two-part miniseries about th Supreme Court's landmark school desegregation decision, is itself almost landmark television in two respects. One is the performance of Sidney Poitier as Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP lawyer and future Supreme Court justice who argued one of the cases that became known as Brown vs. Board of Education. Poitier's acting style may be too big-screen rococo for some television tastes. But its moments of high-intensity grandeur make it one of the performances of the television year.
May 18, 1996
PRECISELY 100 YEARS LATER, the message stands forth with the clarity and majesty of self-evident truth: "In the view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law."Such were the words of the first Justice John Marshall Harlan, a Kentuckian by birth and a former slave-owner.
July 20, 2002
A PARAPLEGIC man is suing a Florida strip joint for being in violation of his civil rights because there is no wheelchair access to upstairs private rooms where he could get a "lap dance." The club owner said he could use a private room downstairs. But the plaintiff's lawyer replied that "separate but equal is not good enough." Sometimes, on controversial issues, we're conflicted as to whether this or that "constitutional right" can possibly be what the Founding Fathers intended. On this one, we're sure.
March 26, 2009
JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN, 94 Historian of African-American experiences Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, a historian of life in the South and the African-American experience, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. Dr. Franklin helped Thurgood Marshall win Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that outlawed the "separate but equal" doctrine in U.S. schools.
April 7, 1991
When a screening of "Separate But Equal" was held at the American Film Institute in Washington several weeks ago, the film's central character, NAACP counsel-turned-Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, was among the dignitaries in the audience.Although his presence alone at this event was most atypical, the 82-year-old justice, surrounded by family and friends, responded questions about the film with typical judicious restraint.A phone call to his chambers last week drew similar reticence.
May 16, 2004
The suit Though universally known as Brown vs. Board of Education, the case was five separate suits challenging segregation - from South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Brown case in Kansas that the Supreme Court ordered argued together. In many ways, Briggs vs. Elliott, the case filed by Thurgood Marshall from Clarendon County, South Carolina, which began when black parents sought school buses for their children, was the most representative, but Brown was listed first, so the Topeka, Kan., case has always been in the spotlight.