October 22, 03

Vol. 19 , No. 03   


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Justice Delayed: 49 Years after Brown
THOMAS PETTIGREW
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2003

Nearly fifty years have passed since the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. The ruling was supposed to be the end of the "separate but equal" doctrine established in 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Many efforts to promote the mixing of the races followed including controversial busing and the forced integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

However, Thomas Pettigrew, a research professor of social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, believes that we haven't progressed as far as many seem to think. A leading scholar on prejudice, Pettigrew asserts that the Rehnquist Court has implicitly overturned Brown in spirit, even if it hasn't yet done so explicitly in deed. Pettigrew argues that this has strong implications for the nation as a whole, and that we must be prepared to deal with the metamorphosis the Brown decision has undergone.

Pettigrew earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and taught at both Harvard and the University of North Carolina State before coming to UCSC in 1979. He retired from teaching in 1994 yet remains an active researcher and recently served as a senior fellow at Stanford University's Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Pettigrew has specialized in intergroup relations throughout his career, and conducted research in that field in South Africa and Australia. He is the author of How to Think Like a Social Scientist (1997) and The Sociology of Race Relations: Reflections and Reform (1980). In 2002, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology presented him with its Distinguished Scientist Award. Professor Pettigrew's lecture is part of the series in Conflict Resolution as well the Athenaeum's recognition of landmark anniversaries.