From the Archives… Education History

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As a part Process’s month on the history of education, we peeked into the Journal of American History archives to look at some of our recent articles on the topic.

In June 2004, the JAH ran a round table in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Adam Fairclough discussed the decision in terms of some African Americans’ nostalgia for black-controlled schools. Scott Kurashige called attention to the ways that the Brown decision erased systemic inequality. Mary Dudziak set the Brown decision in the context of the Cold War. Clayborne Carson contextualized the Brown decision within ongoing stories of racial and regional conflict. Daryl Michael Scott argued that multiculturalism is a direct descendent of integrationism. Charles M. Payne asks why contemporaries overestimated the decision’s impact. Lani Guinier shows how Brown ran up against unresolved problems resulting from the legacy of slavery in the American past. In the same issue, Jane Dailey’s article focused on “Sex, Segregation, and the Sacred after Brown.

Gael Graham’s 2004 article “Flaunting the Freak Flag: Karr v. Schmidt and the Great Hair Debate in American High Schools, 1965–1975” examined legal challenges to high school rules about the length of male students’ hair. Attempting to limit long hair on young men, educators and others argued that it was “un-American” and that it might create “confusion over appropriate dressing rooms and restroom facilities.” This article was featured in a Teaching the JAH exercise.

A recent article by Chris Rasmussen provides a new spin on the old story of antiwar campus protest. In “‘This thing has ceased to be a joke’: The Veterans of Future Wars and the Meanings of Political Satire in the 1930s,” Rasmussen tells the story of students at Princeton University who formed a satirical group called “The Veterans of Future Wars” to mock the relentless nature of American involvement in foreign wars. Rasmussen’s article is freely available to the public. Process also interviewed Rasmussen about the article.

An article by Christopher Phillips focused on “The New Math and Midcentury American Politics.” Phillips shows how the “new math” curriculum of the mid-twentieth century provoked political outrage from some Americans who believed that learning math should be a means of developing mental discipline and reasoning ability. Stephen Andrews also interviewed Phillips about this topic for the Journal of American History podcast.

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