The Orlando Sentinel published a 1955 letter to the editor from Zora Neale Hurston. In it, she condemns the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and the leadership of the Black intelligentsia in the decision. Using Timothy Parsons’ myth of a progressive empire, this article emphasizes Hurston’s central thesis: that forced desegregation leads to spiritual and cultural oppression, disguised within the ostensibly progressive Brown. The analysis also examines Hurston’s class-straddling perspective in the construction of her argument and analyzes the role of class in the Brown strategy. Hurston’s argument, understood through the lens of progressive empire, has implications for current educators of Black students.
The Journal of Negro Education (JNE), a refereed scholarly periodical, was founded at Howard University in 1932 to fill the need for a scholarly journal that would identify and define the problems that characterized the education of Black people in the United States and elsewhere, provide a forum for analysis and solutions, and serve as a vehicle for sharing statistics and research on a national basis. JNE sustains a commitment to a threefold mission: first, to stimulate the collection and facilitate the dissemination of facts about the education of Black people; second, to present discussions involving critical appraisals of the proposals and practices relating to the education of Black people; and third, to stimulate and sponsor investigations of issues incident to the education of Black people.