The Bricks before Brown

The Chinese American, Native American, and Mexican Americans' Struggle for Educational Equality

Title Details

Pages: 226

Illustrations: 25 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 08/01/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6203-8

List Price: $26.95


Pub Date: 08/01/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6202-1

List Price: $114.95

The Bricks before Brown

The Chinese American, Native American, and Mexican Americans' Struggle for Educational Equality

A look at the diverse history of litigation that preceded Brown v. Board of Education

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws establishing racial segregation are unconstitutional, declaring “separate is inherently unequal.” Known as a seminal Supreme Court case and civil rights victory, Brown v. Board of Education resulted from many legal battles that predicated its existence. Marisela Martinez-Cola writes about the many important cases that led to the culmination of Brown. She reveals that the road to Brown is lined with “bricks” representing at least one hundred other families who legally challenged segregated schooling in state and federal courts across the country, eleven of which involved Chinese American, Native American, and Mexican American plaintiffs.

By revealing the significance of Chinese American, Native American, and Mexican American segregation cases, Martinez-Cola provides an opportunity for an increasingly diverse America to be fully invested in the complete grand narrative of the civil rights movement. To illustrate the evolution of these cases, she focuses on three court cases from California, including these stories as part of the “long civil rights movement,” and thus expands our understanding of the scope of that movement along racial, gender, and class lines. Comparing and discussing the meaning of the other court cases that led to the Brown decision strengthens the standing of Brown while revealing all the twists and turns inherent in the struggle for equality.

The Bricks before Brown offers an intriguing, almost bird’s-eye view of the web of litigation that predated the iconic U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The author digs deep into the historical record to provide a fulsome account of a handful of California cases that represent a broad spectrum of resistance to school segregation by race and national origin.

—Doris Marie Provine, author of Unequal under Law: Race in the War on Drugs

The Bricks before Brown is written in an engaging style and puts forth a compelling narrative of the court cases that laid the foundation for school desegregation. This book will change the way we think about the long road to school desegregation . . . . This is a story that needs to be told, and Marisela Martinez-Cola tells it very well.

—Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, author of Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach

Research on racial segregation often occurs in siloed fields, such as in education, political science, or sociology of race and ethnicity. Bricks merges these fields to establish how intersecting identities impact struggles for educational rights. Bricks gives voice to Latine, Chinese, and Native American families left out of the Black/White racial binary and resistance movements countering U.S. racial inequality.

—Trisha Douin, Melanie Jones Gast, and John Broadus, Sage Journals: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

About the Author/Editor

MARISELA MARTINEZ-COLA is an assistant professor of sociology at Morehouse College She has published in the Journal of Law & Society, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Teaching Sociology, Latino Studies, Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, and Humanity and Society. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.