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All Deliberate Speed by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. (Norton, 365 pages, $26) The Failures of Integration by Sheryll Cashin (Public Affairs, 391 pages, $26) Hold the celebrations for Brown v. Board of Education. After 50 years of court-ordered desegregation, public schools for blacks (and Latinos) have gone from “separate but equal” in law to increasingly separate and demonstrably unequal in fact over the past 15 years. That’s the message of two prominent African-American law school professors: Harvard’s Charles Ogletree Jr. and Georgetown’s Sheryll Cashin. In books written for Brown’s 50th anniversary, Ogletree (“All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education“) and Cashin (“The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream”) both cite the evidence of “resegregation” over the past 15 years — a trend fostered by the Rehnquist Court’s hands-off attitude toward local school policies. Black and Latino pupils are more likely today to be attending racially or ethnically identifiable schools than in the late 1980s. These “black” and “Latino” schools typically have fewer resources than “white” schools — as Cashin demonstrates by a close comparison of Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., one of the city’s best, with the far better equipped Whitman High School in suburban Bethesda, Md. Neither Ogletree nor Cashin is giving up on integration, but they both depict the ambivalent views in black America on the issue. Both see merit in the growing number of charter schools designed by blacks, for blacks — notwithstanding the consequences for racial separation. More broadly, both professors want white America to pay down its debt to black America. Cashin wants a serious federal commitment to a program of social justice, but admits she got nowhere with the issue as a policy adviser in the Bill Clinton White House. Ogletree is a prominent advocate for reparations — for example, as attorney for plaintiffs in a suit seeking compensation for the Tulsa race riot of 1921. Both are hopeful but realistic about white America’s likely response. Kenneth Jost is Supreme Court editor of CQ Press and associate editor of The CQ Researcher.

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