Thus, the blacks were continually beaten down and oppressed. Their children were kept from schools, their jobs paid less than the whites, and they were at the mercy of white business owners and politicians. This was clear in Clarendon County when the blacks who brought the original suit against the school district were fired from their jobs, denied loans from the local banks, and in some cases even driven out of the county, as J.A. DeLaine was. The Civil War was a compelling and unforgettable gap between the whites and the blacks, especially in the South. The hatred of the whites for the blacks created friction, distrust, and unfair conditions for most of the black residents of the South. The whites could never forgive the blacks for changing the genteel and superior white way of life on the plantations, and so, their continual prejudice and oppression of the blacks finally created an intolerable situation. The blacks had to fight back to gain their dignity, as well as their equality. Sadly, the Civil War also lead to southern "Jim Crow Laws," which served no other purpose than to keep the blacks in their "place," by denying them social and political freedoms. These laws were enacted directly after the Civil War in the South, and many stayed on the books until the 1960s and even beyond. The Civil War created the situation in the South, and the Supreme Court tried to end it. However, the author sadly noted at the end of the book, "But in the Summerton area, in the school district where Reverend DeLaine had organized the 'Briggs' case and paid so dearly for it, the public school system twenty years later had an enrollment of more than 3,000 black youngsters - and just one white child" (Kluger 778). Clarendon County had won the fight, but was still losing the war.
Of course, the most important underlying issue in this entire discussion of bussing and desegregation is the issue of "simple justice," the title of the book. Today, the entire issue of racism and hatred as it existed against the blacks (and other races in this country), is a bit difficult to believe. What is so unbelievable is that it was allowed to continue for so long. Blacks were treated abominably from the time they were indentured in Africa, and it took the courts and laws to create moral and ethical decency in this country. Their need for justice was "simple," but getting it was never so simple. Today, the idea of equality is not so difficult to swallow. There is certainly still much racial hatred in the country, and most other races still face persecution and ugly hatred from some, but the intolerable conditions of blacks in the country before civil rights reform have certainly improved. Blacks no longer have to use separate facilities, or sit in the back of the bus, or attend all black, inferior schools. This is "simple justice," and what is not so simple is to understand why such a simple thing took so long to accomplish. The underlying issue here is stark hatred, and it is difficult to understand how people can hate so much, over so little. The color of a person's skin should not matter. This is simple. What is inside a person should matter. However, the issue of race and race relations has not gone away, and as long as this is an issue in our country, it will continue to fuse important and legendary legislation and debate, just like Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. Different races may attend the same schools today, but there are still people who hate others because of their skin color. Many events led up to the monumental Supreme Court decision that led to desegregation of America's schools. Bringing the issue to the courts involved brave men and women, a hope and need to alter history, and the people's need for racial equality. Brown v. The Board of Education was the first step down a long road toward racial harmony, but we still have not reached the final step, and sometimes it seems as though we never will.
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice: The History of 'Brown v. Board of Education' and Black America's Struggle for…