The Bricks Before Brown v. Board of Education: A Comparative, Historical Study of Race, Class, and Gender in Chinese American, Native American, and Mexican American School Desegregation Cases, 1885-1947 Open Access

Martinez-Cola, Marisela (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9306sz292?locale=en
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Abstract

Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court case which declared the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson unconstitutional, represents a watershed moment in the United States.  Because of its sacrosanct place within Civil Rights canon, much of the research regarding Brown has been limited to the 50s, situated in the South, and analyzed through the Black/White lens of race.  In an attempt to generate a more inclusive and intersectional narrative of the school desegregation movement in the United States, the author examines three significant cases, filed before Brown, that represent racial communities whose contributions have been overlooked, omitted, or understudied within law, history, and sociology.  Through archival research, interviews, and field visits, the author shares the stories of Tape v. Hurley, an 1885 case involving Chinese American children, Piper v. Big Pine, a 1924 case involving Native American children, and Mendez v. Westminster, a 1947 case involving Mexican American children to compare how race, gender, and class were constructed similarly and separately across the cases.  Using a comparative historical, case study approach that relies on Critical Race Theory, Controlling Images, and the Politics of Respectability, the author finds that the road to Brown is not only raced but also gendered, classed, and aged in complicated, connected, and expected ways.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2: STUDIED SEPARATELY AND UNEQUALLY

Literature Review: Studied Separately and Unequally

Three Theoretical Frameworks

Critical Race Theory, its Intellectual Offspring, and Race

Controlling Images, Gender, and Class

The Politics of Respectability and Class

Conclusion

CHAPTER 3: THE 101 BRICKS BEFORE BROWN

The Legal and Historical Beginning of "Separate but Equal"

From Pre-Plessy (1849-1896) to Pre-Brown (1896-1954)

The Native American Bricks

McMillan v. School Committee District No. 4 (1890): Negro...not Indian

Crawford v. School District No. 7 (1913): Wholly White

Moreau v. Grandich (1917): "Slight strain of red blood"

Piper v. Big Pine (1924): Citizenship vs. Race

Peters v. Pauma (1928): Race vs. Land

Were these precedent setting cases?

The Chinese American Bricks

Tape v. Hurley (1885) The Power of the Legislature

Wong Him v. Callahan (1902): Legislation upheld

The Settle Law of the South

Gong Lum v. Rice (1927): Constitutionally Colored

Bond v. Tij Fung (1927): Substantially Similar

The Mexican American Bricks

Mendez v. Westminster (1947)

Gonzales v. Sheely (1951)

Why Tape, Piper, and Mendez?

Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: THE OMITTED, THE FORGOTTEN, AND THE NEARLY

The Tapes, The Omitted

The Pipers, The Forgotten

First, what The Papers Say

Second, what the People Say

The Mendez', The Nearly

The Community: Testimony from the Families

The Victory that Nearly Was

Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: THE COMPLICATED CASE OF RACE

Critical Race Theory, its Intellectual Offspring, and Race

Development of LatCrit

Cloaks, Wedges, and Whiteness: Mexicans and Race

Development of AsianCrit

Miners, Models, and Middlemen: Asian American and Race

Development of TribalCrit

Authenticity, Assimilation, and Absence: Native Americans and Race

Application of Theory

AsianCrit and Tape

TribalCrit and Piper

LatCrit and Mendez

The Role of Class

An Alternative Theory: The U.S. Racial Abacus Model

Conclusion

 CHAPTER SIX: FIGHTING FATHERS AND PRETTY LITTLE PLAINTIFFS

The Power and Purpose of Controlling Images

The Presence and Pervasiveness of Controlling Images

Pagans, Prostitutes, and Poor Creatures

Savages, Squaws, and Sacrificial Maidens

Mamacitas, Malinches, and Mentally Inferior

Parents, Pianos, and the Politics of Respectability

Fighting Fathers

Mamie Tape: "As well as...an American girl."

Alice Piper: "A person of good habits and character"

Sylvia Mendez: "Just as good as he is!"

Conclusion

CHAPTER 7: SCHOLARLY CONTRIBUTIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

Overall Scholarly Contributions and Future Projects

Potential as Course Materials

Conclusion

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