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Brown v. Board of Education

1954

 

Following the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896, many black Americans decided to push for the equality they so rightfully deserved. One of the most significant cases regarding segregation was the case of Brown v. Board of Education. In 1952, the Supreme Court was approached by four states and the District of Columbia, challenging the constitutionality of the segregation of races in the public schools. They wanted desegregation in the public school system, because the current segregation was not equal and it violated their freedoms as citizens of the United States of America.

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Linda Brown was a black girl attending fifth grade at the public schools in Topeka, Kansas. She was denied admission into a white elementary school. The NAACP took up her case, along with similar ones in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. All five cases were argued together in December, 1952 by Thurgood Marshall, a black lawyer who headed the NAACP. The entire nation was on its tiptoes waiting for the courts decision.

However, the decision did not come that quickly. For two more years the case was argued and reargued. They were trying to find out the true and correct interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the impact of that Amendment on racial segregation in the public schools. They also considered that if they did decide in favor of desegregation, and that segregation did in fact violate the laws in the Fourteenth Amendment, what method should be introduced to bring about an end to segregation? The court's decision was finally handed down on May 17, 1954.

It is doubtful if the Supreme Court has ever in all its history made a decision of greater social and ideological significance than this one. This event was the turning point in the desegregation of public schools, and the beginning to an equality among all races.


Notes:

http://www.sidwell.edu/~lcozzens/africa/low-graphics/brown.html#bbackground http://www.nationalcenter.inter.net/brown.html


Edited by: Eric R Hartin
Researched by: Collette Anderson
Written by: Eric R Hartin
May 8, 1997

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