Current School Board Representative Carol A.O. Wolf had an op-ed in Sunday’s Times-Dispatch about the impact on Richmond’s schools by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision; the Fan District Hub has published a longer version of Wolf’s piece online. It reads, in part:
The late and great Oliver W. Hill, Esq. was my friend and mentor for the past 25 years and my most valued and vocal constituent for the past six.
Thanks to Mr. Hill’s inspiration, unyielding expectations of excellence, and the unfortunate fact of his blindness, I received a most special education as one of his privileged “readers.”
“We” read every word of Simple Justice, Richard Kluger’s 798-page legal history of the Brown vs. Board of Education case and subsequent legal decisions. Several times.
To be sure, over the years, we read many other books, including Mr. Hill’s autobiography, The Big Bang: Brown v. Board of Education, and countless legal and political articles. But, we always returned to Kluger’s Simple Justice.
On our third time or fourth time through, I asked why we were re-reading it. His answer was, as always, honest and direct: “Because we are not finished yet. We’ve barely begun.”
And, it was on that day, when I finally “got” what he meant, that he exacted the only promise he ever asked of me. “Do not ever engage in a discussion of the re-segregation of Richmond’s schools – they’ve never been de-segregated.”
Since Mr. Hill and I had ongoing discussions of whether our schools were better because of Brown and what he thought we needed to do to fix them, I feel safe proffering the following answers:
Short answer: No. Our schools are not better off.