May 17, 2004
TODAY IS THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION, a momentous event and one that shows the value of an extended commitment to justice.
I highly recommend the Brown film Separate But Equal, starring Sidney Poitier as Thurgood Marshall, to anyone interested. I showed this in my Constitutional Law class this year. I don't generally like to show films in class -- they eat up a lot of class time, and most of them don't teach much law. This one, however, does a good job of capturing both the social conditions (now largely alien to my students) and the legal strategizing (often forgotten even by lawyers) involved in the case.
When the movie came out, I talked to my former professor and mentor, Charles Black, about it. He said it was quite accurate for a movie, though he was a bit disturbed by the casting: "They got Sidney Poitier to play Thurgood," he said, "while they picked some fella who's a dead ringer to play me."