Creatora film from California Newsreel ; a presentation of the University of Virginia ; executive producer, William Elwood ; produced and directed by Mykola Kulish ; written by William Elwood ... [et al.]
The Road to Brown tells the story of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling as the culmination of a brilliant legal assault on segregation that launched the Civil Rights movement. It is also a moving and long overdue tribute to a visionary but little known black lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, "the man who killed Jim Crow." The Road to Brown plunges us into the nightmare world of Jim Crow that robbed former slaves of the rights granted by the 14th and 15th Amendments. Under the "separate but equal" doctrine of the Supreme Court's 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, black citizens were denied the right to vote, to attend white schools, to get sick in white hospitals or to be buried in white cemeteries. Those who objected were liable to be lynched. Charles Houston, the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, dean of Howard University Law School and chief counsel to the NAACP, launched a number of precedent-setting cases leading up to Brown v. Board of Education. He strategically targeted segregated education as the key to undermining the entire Jim Crow system. Interviews with his associates recount how Houston, eschewing the limelight himself, energized a generation of black jurists including future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to wage the struggle against segregation. He taught: "A lawyer is either a social engineer or he is a parasite on society."