Brown V. Board Essay

Brown v. Board of Education

After the promise of Reconstruction faded into the discrimination of the Jim Crow era, African Americans at the turn of the century found themselves living in a country where they were acknowledged as citizens but permanently isolated into a disadvantaged underclass. The 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, which allowed separate railroad cars for blacks and whites in Louisiana provided that the facilities were "separate but equal," opened the door to legalized segregation in virtually all public places, most importantly in schools. However, African Americans' continual efforts to work against Jim Crow through litigation and associations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) eventually bore fruit in a series of cases that chipped away at the legality of segregation. Sweatt v. Painter (1950), which outlawed segregation in graduate education, and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents (1950), which forced the state-sponsored University of Oklahoma to admit an African American student on an equal standing with his peers, both paved the way for a decision that would outlaw school segregation at all levels.


This came in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, in which the court ruled that "separate education facilities are inherently unequal" and were in fact detrimental to the mental and emotional well-being of black children. This watershed decision heralded the end of segregation and became the foundation of the successful civil rights movement of the 1960s, but it did not magically solve the problems of racial equality in America. Black students attending newly integrated schools in the years after Brown faced discrimination, threats, and violence, while the reluctance of a number of schools to comply with the Court's ruling eventually forced a confrontation between southern states and the federal government. Moreover, although legalized segregation is now a thing of the past, in many communities today demographic shifts and economic inequalities have ensured that the color line remains all too real.

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Brown Versus The Board of Education

The Brown versus Board of Education decision was an immense influence on desegregation of schools and a milestone in the movement for equality between the blacks and whites that continues today. The Brown versus Board of Education case was not the first of its type. Since the early 50's, five separate cases were filed dealing with the desegregation of schools. In all but one of these cases, the schools for whites were finer than the schools for the blacks. The black people argued that this situation was not right and unconstitutional (Dudley, 1).

When the civil war ended in 1865, Congress passed the 14th amendment that stated that all people born in the United States are considered…show more content…

In 1911, a group of activists decided to form a group to fight for equality. This group became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the NAACP. In 1939 the NAACP set up a branch called the Legal Defense Fund, which worked to end segregation through legal actions. (Good, 16) The LDF took many cases to the Supreme Courts where most rulings were for the NAACP due to the unequal facilities between white and black schools. In 1952, the NAACP had three cases in the Supreme Court, which was rescheduled, to be heard a second time in 1953. By 1953 two more cases had been added and the 5 cases were known as Brown v. Board of Education. These five cases were: Bulah v. Gebhard, Davis v. Prince Edward County, Briggs v. Elliot, Brown v. Board of Education, and Bolling v. Sharpe (Good, 4).

Linda Carol Brown was eight years old in the summer of 1950 when her father was told that Linda wouldn't be able to attend the Sumner Elementary School, in Topeka Kansas, due to her race. When finding this out Reverend Brown, Linda's father teamed up with other black families and sought help from the NAACP. They tried to appeal to the school board, but it didn't help. On February 28th of 1951 the battle begun when Reverend Brown filed his suit in the United States District Court as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

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