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Biden celebrates ‘the power of an education’ on the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board

A portion of the Brown v. Board mural is on display April 2, 2024, at the Kansas Statehouse. The mural appears outside the former Kansas Supreme Court chamber, where 11 state cases seeking to end public school segregation were argued and dismissed before the federal case. (Photo by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday, he reiterated his commitment to advancing racial and educational equity as he celebrated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Biden this past week commemorated the anniversary of the landmark ruling in which the nation’s highest court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The 1954 consolidated case evolved from a challenge to the Topeka, Kansas, Board of Education and other U.S. school systems. But seventy years later, research has shown an increase in school segregation in the United States.

“Education is linked to freedom, because being free means having something that no one can ever take away from you, and that is the power of education – that’s why the Brown decision we commemorate today is so important,” Biden said at the National Museum of Afro -American history and culture in Washington, DC, at an NAACP event celebrating the anniversary.

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During a private press event on Thursday, Biden met with some of the plaintiffs and families of both Brown v. Board and the cases consolidated under it. These combined cases include Briggs v. Elliott, from South Carolina; Bolling v. Sharpe, from Washington, D.C.; Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward, of Virginia; and Gebhart v. Belton, of Delaware.

New initiatives

Earlier Friday, the government unveiled a series of new initiatives aimed at promoting racial and educational equality.

They include $20 million in new magnet school grants for school districts in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas in an effort to “further desegregate public schools,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The administration is also launching a new technical assistance center to “help states and school districts provide a more equitable and adequate approach to school financing.” The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights releases data on student access to and enrollment in math and science courses. The White House also said it would take new steps to preserve African-American history, such as protecting historic sites and increasing access to literature.

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During his remarks Friday, Biden said the administration is working to support Black children, noting that Black children, on average, start school nearly seven months later than their white peers when it comes to reading. He attributed this to “the country’s legacy of discrimination.”

Relieving student loan debt, investing in HBCUs

As the student loan crisis continues, Biden also said that “too many young people — Black students — are dealing with unmanageable debt in exchange for a college degree.” To date, the government has forgiven more than $160 billion in student debt for nearly 4.6 million borrowers.

Biden said the administration has invested more than $16 billion in historically black colleges and universities. “HBCUs also do not have funding like other colleges and universities that can fund research labs and much more. Well, (Vice President) Kamala (Harris) and I made a promise to take HBCUs to the next level and we are keeping that promise,” he said.

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The president will deliver the address on Sunday at Morehouse College, a historically black men’s college, in Atlanta.

The post Biden celebrates ‘the power of education’ on 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board appeared first on Kentucky Lantern.

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