The Discovery Channel’s Discover Docs is releasing its first documentary feature, “With All Deliberate Speed,” directed by Peter Gilbert (“Hoop Dreams”).
May 17, 1954: Led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the United States Supreme Court hands down a blockbuster decision. “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” reads the opinion. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The highest court in the land determines that segregated public schools deny African-American students equal protection under the law. A nation is forever changed.
“With All Deliberate Speed” weaves together the inspiring story of the people behind Brown v. Board of Education with a look at its complex legacy. The film celebrates the brave young people from very humble backgrounds who sought to uphold the U.S. Constitution by challenging the doctrine, “separate but equal,” simply by asking for school buildings that didn’t leak or busses to transport students nine miles to school. Their courage and fundamental beliefs pointed the country in a dramatically new direction. These never-before-told personal stories are woven together with reactions from today’s students to reflect on the decision’s continuing impact and ongoing struggle to create equality in today’s schools.
“The film is as much about today as it is about yesterday,” says filmmaker Peter Gilbert. “The legacy of the Brown decision is a mixed one, and continues to enlighten, define, and complicate our society.” Gilbert sees first-hand its impact as he visits current high school students – and in some cases, finds subtle reflections of what drove a small group of teenagers to take a stand 50 years ago.
“With All Deliberate Speed” opens in theaters in five cities on the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking case (May 17th, 2004).