Blacks against Brown

The Intra-racial Struggle over Segregated Schools in Topeka, Kansas

By Charise L. Cheney

Blacks against Brown

Approx. 280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8165-8
    Published: November 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8164-1
    Published: November 2024

Paperback Available November 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) is regarded as one of the most significant civil rights moments in American history. Historical observers have widely viewed this landmark Supreme Court decision as a significant sign of racial progress for African Americans. However, there is another historical perspective that tells a much more complex tale of Black resistance to the NAACP's decision to pursue desegregating America's public schools.

This multifaceted history documents the intra-racial conflict among Black Topekans over the city's segregated schools. Black resistance to school integration challenges conventional narratives about Brown by highlighting community concerns about economic and educational opportunities for Black educators and students and Black residents' pride in all-Black schools. This history of the local story behind Brown v. Board contributes to a literature that provides a fuller and more complex perspective on African Americans and their relationship to Black education and segregated schools during the Jim Crow era.

About the Author

Charise L. Cheney is professor of Indigenous, race, and ethnic studies at the University of Oregon.

For more information about Charise L. Cheney, visit the Author Page.


"Offering a compelling alternative narrative to traditional accounts of racial progress, this book provides deeper nuance to established works like Kluger's Simple Justice and will reshape how scholars, students, and educators perceive the significance of Topeka. After reading this book, the lens through which this pivotal moment in US history is viewed will likely be changed."—Jon Hale, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign