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Affirmative Action and Racial Balance in Public Schools

Dr. Martin Luther King's goal of equal opportunity is still controversial in 21st Century America. Are race preferences necessary--or unconstitutional--to achieve integration?  We'll look at pending Supreme Court cases that could mean the end of affirmative action. Plus, another grisly execution in Iraq, and Dr. Martin Luther King and the importance of non-violence.

Making News

Two Saddam Aides Hanged; Iraq's New Security Plan ()

In Iraq today, the government says that all legal requirements were adhered to in what was another grisly execution. But the head of Saddam Hussein's half-brother was accidentally severed from his body when he was hanged for the same crimes as Saddam. Meantime, Iraq's Sunni minority is angry over the President's increase of American troops, as Borzou Daragahi reports in the Los Angeles Times.

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Main Topic

Racial Balance in Public Schools ()

Thirty-nine years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, America is still arguing about how to achieve racial equality. In the 1950's, US Supreme Court decisions provided a legal rationale for the civil rights movement and Dr. King. Key among those was Brown versus the Board of Education, which outlawed school segregation on the grounds that separate schools were inherently unequal. Forced busing is a thing of the past, but racial preferences are still used in many places to accomplish ethnic diversity. The current US Supreme Court has been asked to outlaw voluntary affirmative-action plans in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky. Does the Constitution require that government be "color blind" or does "equal opportunity" mandate that race be a factor in school admissions? We speak with journalists, educators, public policy experts, civil rights activists and others.

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Reporter's Notebook

Dr. King's Peaceful Protests a Lesson for Others ()

Racial segregation in the US was enforced by decades of police brutality, lynchings and other forms of violence. Familiar images from America's civil rights movement include the use of dogs, nightsticks and firehouses. Dr. Martin Luther King insisted that the response of civil rights marchers be disciplined non-violence. That's one of his greatest achievements, according to Bruce Bartlett, a conservative columnist who worked in the Reagan and first Bush Administrations.

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