Brown v. Board of Education

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Brown v. Board of Education
Argued December 9–11, 1952
Reargued December 7–9, 1953
Decided May 17, 1954
Full case nameOliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al.
Citations347 U.S. 483 (more)
Subsequent historyParties were ordered to return to determine how the ruling should be applied in Brown II, 349 U.S. 294 (1955)
Separate but equal educational facilities for racial minorities is inherently unequal, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · Stanley F. Reed
Felix Frankfurter · William O. Douglas
Robert H. Jackson · Harold H. Burton
Tom C. Clark · Sherman Minton
Case opinions
MajorityWarren, joined by all other Justices
Laws applied
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) (in part)

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (full name George Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) was a Landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States.[1]

In 1950 in Topeka, Kansas, a black third-grade girl named Linda Carol Brown had to run more than a mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her segregated school for black children.[2] However, there was an elementary school for white children less than seven blocks away.[3] At that time, many schools in the United States were segregated. Black children and white children were not allowed to go to the same schools.[4]

Her father, Oliver Brown, tried to get Linda into the white school, but the principal of the school refused.[3][5] Twelve more black parents joined Oliver Brown in trying to get their children into the white elementary school.[5][6] The two schools were supposed to be "separate but equal." However, they were not.[3]

In 1951, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) helped the parents file a class action lawsuit.[5][6] There were five lawsuits in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia about having black students going to legally segregated schools. In 1896, the Supreme Court had ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that segregation was legal, as long as separate places for blacks and whites were "separate but equal."[7] The NAACP's lawyers argued that the white and black schools in Topeka were not "separate but equal."[8]

Kenneth Clark is a psychologist that gave young African-American children black and white dolls to see how they felt about segregation and integration. The children liked the white dolls.[9] After the doll test, Clark also gave the black children drawings of a kid and asked them to color it like themselves. Some of the children colored themselves with a white or yellow crayon, which was also used in the case.[10]

The case eventually went all the way to the Supreme Court. After years of work, in 1954, Thurgood Marshall and a team of other NAACP lawyers won the case.[6] It was named "Brown" because she was alphabetically the first name on the list of plaintiffs.[2] After the lawsuit many of the plaintiffs lost their jobs and respect in society.

The ruling[change | change source]

map of ruling

The Supreme Court has nine justices. The vote on Brown v. Board of Education was unanimous, meaning that all nine justices voted the same way. One of the judges, Robert Jackson, had recently had a heart attack and was not supposed to come back to court until the next month. However, he came to the court when the judges read their decision, possibly to show that every one of the judges agreed.[11]

The ruling in the case was written by Earl Warren, who was Chief Justice. He said “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." [8] This decision made the racial segregation of schools against the law in every US state.[8]

Some states did not obey this court decision at first.[12] The supreme Court ruled the schools had up to 5 years to desegregate.[9] It was not until the early 1970s that all United States public schools were integrated (the opposite of segregated). Integrating America's schools required many state and Supreme Court decisions to force schools to integrate.[12]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Brown v. Board of Education Topeka (1)". Oyez. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Linda Brown Biography". Bio/A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Brown v. Board of Education (Kansas)". The Leadership Conference. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights / The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  4. Finkelman, Paul, ed. (2009). Encyclopedia of African American History: 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century (Volume IV). Oxford University Press. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-0195167795.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Teaching with Documents: Documents Related to Brown v. Board of Education". Teachers’ Resources. United States National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Timeline of Events Leading to the Brown v. Board of Education Decision, 1954". Teachers’ Resources. United States National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. Brown, Supreme Court Justice Henry B. (May 18, 1896). "Plessy v. Ferguson". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 United States Supreme Court (May 17, 195). "United States Supreme Court: BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, (1954), No. 10; Argued: December 9, 1952; Decided: May 17, 1954". Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Strauss, Valerie (2014-04-24). "How, after 60 years, Brown v. Board of Education succeeded — and didn't". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  10. Oliver, Brown; B., Clark, Dr. Kenneth; Robert, Carter; Louis, Redding; Thurgood, Marshall; Jack, Greenburg; E.C., Hayes, George; M., Nabrit, James; Felix, Frankfurter (2004-11-13). "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas - Brown v. Board at Fifty: "With an Even Hand" | Exhibitions - Library of Congress". Retrieved 2018-03-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. Luther A. Huston (May 18, 1954). "High Court Bans School Segregation; 9-to-0 Decision Grants Time to Comply". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hannah-Jones, Nikole; Zamora, Amanda; & Thompson, Christie (April 15, 2014). "Timeline: From Brown v. Board to Segregation Now". ProPublica. ProPublica Inc. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Other websites[change | change source]