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Defining Moments

Brown v. Board of Education

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Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in American schools. The ruling effectively changed American schooling and, consequently, American culture and society forever. But change did not come easily, and the road to desegregation was fraught with injustice, inequality, and courageous acts of defiance by oppressed American citizens fighting to tear down the nation’s separate but equal policy.

Defining Moments: Brown v. Board of Education presents an authoritative account of the origins and progression of the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated American public schools. It also explores the event’s lasting impact on America’s political and cultural landscape. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to the Brown Supreme Court decision, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with Brown v. Board of Education
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, song lyrics, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features in Defining Moments

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics in Defining Moments

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: Brown v. Board of Education are below:

  • Explore the history of segregation in America, including the horrors of the Jim Crow South
  • Summarize the leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in fighting school segregation
  • Clarify the reasons for white resistance to integration efforts
  • Analyze the legal battles over school desegregation before and after the Brown
  • Discuss Chief Justice Earl Warren’s campaign to reach a unanimous decision striking down school segregation
  • Study the struggle to enforce the Supreme Court’s Brown decision, including the experiences of the Little Rock Nine
  • Explore tole of the Brown decision in the birth of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Define the legacy of the Brown decision today on American schools
  • Describe the impact of the Brown decision on American culture, politics, and education


“[The author] has done a fine job of making this topic accessible to and engaging for today’s students. Look no further to find an all-in-one source for class assignments.”

—School Library Journal, Dec ’05, Starred Review

“Brown v. Board of Education provides a thorough history of the social and political events surrounding the 1954 Supreme Court decision making school segregation illegal. It also gives readers a clear explanation of how a case makes its way to the Supreme Court. … Books in this series are meticulously researched and very well organized, making them excellent sources for research. … This series is a good choice for schools that teach 20th-century history and current events.”

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, Dec ’05

“This comprehensive volume clearly shows the importance of the historic Supreme Court decision and its aftermath. A glossary and time line set the stage for a narrative overview that delineates what segregated education meant for black children and follows the steps in the legal process to overturn it.”

—School Library Journal, Curriculum Connections, Apr ’06

“The author’s engaging, simple style, combined with a visually enticing layout, will appeal to young readers, or to older readers who want a quick review. … Recommended for public, school, and academic libraries.”

—American Reference Books Annual, 2006