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American Educator
Summer 2004


Table of Contents

The Beginning of the End of Caste in America: The History of Brown v. Board of Education

It's the 50th anniversary of Brown. You know what the decision did. But do you know how it came about? These articles are great history and a great read for teachers—and for students.

Jim Crow's Schools
By Peter Irons

Jim Crow, the roughly 100 years in which slavery was replaced with segregation, subjected African Americans to humiliations, dangers, and obstacles. Among these were the pitiful Jim Crow schools.

The Decline of the Idea of Caste
Setting the Stage for Brown v. Board of Education
By Robert J. Cottrol, Raymond T. Diamond, and Leland B. Ware

At the turn of the last century, racism was not just common, it was fashionable and scientifically "reputable." Then, black soldiers helped win two world wars; thanks to Hitler, Americans learned where racism could lead; and biologists rejected theories about inferior races. The time was right for a lawsuit.

NAACP v. Jim Crow
The Legal Strategy That Brought Down "Separate but Equal" by Toppling School Segregation
By Robert J. Cottrol, Raymond T. Diamond, and Leland B. Ware

America's cultural ground had shifted since 1900, but the segregation sanctioned by Plessy was still entrenched in American law. Did you know that the legal path to desegregation ran through America's graduate and law schools? Do you know why or how? A look at the fascinating strategy that brought down segregation—first in schools, then everywhere.

Legislating Jim Crow

Teachers' Roles in Ending School Segregation

Teaching about Brown

Bridging the Gap between Poor and Privileged
How the Parent-Child Home Program Uses Books and Toys to Help Poor Toddlers Succeed in Kindergarten and Beyond
By LaRue Allen and Anita Sethi

In two years of biweekly home visits focused on books and toys, the Parent-Child Home Program models ways for parents to become their young children's first teachers. The evidence shows it works ... and that the effects last.

Bring PCHP to Your Community

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
The Privileged Status of Story
By Daniel T. Willingham

Ever notice how easy it is to remember a story? And how hard it is to remember a passage from a textbook? Researchers have found that stories have a privileged status in the mind—they are easier to comprehend and easier to remember than other formats for presenting information. As a result, stories can be a great way to introduce new concepts or reinforce main themes in the classroom.

Magic Casements
Books for Kids That Stand the Test of Time
By Terri Schmitz

It's summer, and it's time for reading. Children's book critic Terri Schmitz takes us through the casement windows with her reviews of reissued children's books, from the well-known to the hardly-heard-of.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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