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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Marks 60th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education Decision

May 16, 2014
Press Release
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today marking the 60th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, which declared all laws establishing segregated schools unconstitutional. The anniversary falls on tomorrow, May 17.

"The Brown vs. Board of Education decision was a major step toward education equality in the United States, and launched a Civil Rights movement that was a turning point for our country. I am reminded of heroes like Justice Thurgood Marshall, James Meredith, the Little Rock Nine, the lawyers who fought in the courtroom, and the many civil rights activists who risked their lives to fight for equality. But while the decision changed the law of the land, it didn't immediately change the reality of education inequality in America. 

"Even during the time directly following the court decision, all states and localities did not follow the precedent set by the ruling. This played out in national news across the country and was clearly seen at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas when a group of black students, known as the Little Rock Nine, was blocked by the National Guard from entering the school, under orders from then Governor Orval Faubus.

"Over the years, various federal and state laws and initiatives have been introduced in an effort to improve education, yet today, there is still more work that can be done to ensure that every child has equal access to a world-class education. Sixty years later, we are still fighting for access to affordable early childhood education and higher education and for the reduction of dropout rates. Additionally, the school-to-prison pipeline is not merely a theory, but is a reality for many of our students across the country and is hindering them from access to educational opportunities. We must also adequately prepare our students for entering the workforce as our students compete in a global economy with individuals from around the world.

"On this important anniversary, let us remember the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued this case as a NAACP chief counsel, "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody… bent down and helped us pick up our boots." Today, let us never forget the message of Brown as we work to ensure equal access to education, a strong workforce, and an open door to opportunity for all."