Plot & Details
Directed by Helaine Head, this critically acclaimed installment of the Emmy award-winning PBS television series The American Experience dramatizes the campaign for desegregation covered in Richard Kluger's renowned nonfiction book Simple Justice. The docudrama chronicles the long fight by the great African-American jurist Thurgood Marshall (played by Peter Francis James) to dismantle to the lawful segregation of public schools in the United States. Central to the drama is the relationship of Marshall to his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, dean of Howard University Law School, and the requirement that Marshall prove in court that segregation caused harm to school children. To achieve proof, the lawyer enlisted the help of social scientist Dr. Kenneth Clark. The program portrays how Marshall eventually won the case of Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, KS, at the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954, after years of struggle. The Supreme Court's ruling led to the integration of public schools. Houston is portrayed by James Avery. The program also features performances by Samuel L. Jackson, Pat Hingle, Andre Braugher, and Giancarlo Esposito.