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About the Book
On an otherwise uneventful Monday afternoon on May 17, 1954, in the sixteenth month of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the doctrine of "separate-but-equal" no longer had a place in American society. For Thurgood Marshall and the other lawyers who argued the case, the decision in Brown v. Board of Education promised to change irrevocably the social fabric of the United States. Finally, the nation’s highest court had agreed that segregation was inherently unequal, that legalized racial inequality could no longer be tolerated.
What frequently goes unmentioned, however, was the Court’s calculated inclusion of the words “all deliberate speed” in a second decision that called for the end of school segregation. Those three words left the Court’s mandate flawed from the outset, allowing public groups, politicians, and policy makers to systematically subvert the spirit of the Brown decision and delay its implementation over the next fifty years.
Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., was not even two at the time the Supreme Court made its decision, and his family – farm workers in the Central Valley of California – had scant knowledge of how keenly the ruling would affect them. In All Deliberate Speed, Ogletree examines the personal ramifications of the decision not only on him and his family – his being a "Brown baby," his student days at Stanford University and Harvard Law, his immersion in the Boston busing crisis – but also on the society at large.
Presenting a vivid pageant of historical figures – heroes and foes alike – that includes, among others, Charles Hamilton Houston, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, William Shockley, Anita Hill, Alan Bakke, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Ogletree elucidates the disconnection between the noble ideal of racial equality and the trouble reality of race in America. He discusses the shocking ambivalence of the American judicial system, the increasing legal challenges faced by the need for affirmative action and how those challenges have brought the issue of reparations to the fore. In addition, he provides new insights on his role as lead counsel for Professor Anita Hill in the controversial Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearing, the Alan Bakke reverse-discrimination case, the enduring legacy of Thurgood Marshall, and the recent decision on the University of Michigan’s admissions policies.
In focusing on the legal ramifications of, and challenges to, the Brown decision, Ogletree champions
the work of an often unsung group of heroes: the lawyers, especially Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, who – while thousands of people were valiantly protesting in the streets – argued strenuously and persuasively in the courtrooms across America that the mandate that would become inherent in the Brown decision must not be denied.
A measured blend of personal memoir, exacting legal analysis, and brilliant insight, Ogletree’s eyewitness account of the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education offers a unique vantage point from which to view five decades of race relations in America.
Please visit www.amazon.com or your favorite local bookseller to order a copy today!