On August 3, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, two bills (H.R. 2133 and S. 1046) that would establish a federal commission to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v.Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court banning racial segregation in the public schools. The 1954 landmark case overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine handed down by the high court in 1896 and held that segregation in the public schools violated the 14th amendment and was unconstitutional.
Under the legislation, the commission would work with the U.S. Department of Education and the Brown Foundation for Educational Equality, Excellence, and Research to plan and coordinate activities that would promote awareness of the importance of the 1954 decision. The commission would be made up of members from the Department of Education, the Brown Foundation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.
S. 1046, sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), would authorize $300,000 for the planning and coordination of activities that would culminate on May 17, 2004. H.R. 2133, also passed by the House on June 26 (see The Source, 6/29/01, p. 2), would authorize $250,000 for the same activities. The bills have been sent back to the House.