How Did the Brown v. Board of Education Change America?

The Brown v. Board of Education decision was a landmark moment in American history, one that changed the country forever. But how did it come about, and what were its effects?

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The Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark Supreme Court case that overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson. The decision helped to further the civil rights movement by outlawing segregation in public schools and other public places. While the case did not immediately end all segregation, it did pave the way for future legislation and court cases that would help to ensure equality for all Americans.

The Plessy Era

The Plessy Era refers to the time period between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1940s. This era was characterized by a series of Supreme Court decisions that upheld segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine.

The most well-known of these cases is Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), in which the Court upheld a Louisiana law requiring separate railroad cars for white and black passengers. In practice, this meant that blacks were often relegated to inferior facilities, which led to increased tension and conflict between the races.

The other key Supreme Court case from this era is Korematsu v. United States (1944), in which the Court upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. This decision was widely criticized at the time, and it is now considered to be one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in history.

The Plessy Era came to an end with the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in which the Supreme Court unanimously struck down segregation in public schools. This decision paved the way for a series of civil rights laws that outlawed discrimination in all areas of public life, including education, employment, housing, and voting.

The Brown Era

In the summer of 1955, nine black students entered all-white schools in New Orleans. They were the first to break the color line in the South since Reconstruction. In December of that same year, a similar event occurred in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her bus seat to a white person. Her act of defiance started a city-wide boycott of Montgomery’s buses that lasted for over a year. And on February 1, 1960, four black college students sat down at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and asked to be served. When they were refused, they remained seated until the store closed. These were just a few of the events that marked the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

The success of the Civil Rights Movement depends on many factors: one is undoubtedly timing. The movement occurred during a unique time in American history. Following World War II, there was an uproar over the Jim Crow laws that violated the civil rights of African Americans. In addition, America was becoming more urban and therefore more diverse. This diversity led to increased tension between different racial and ethnic groups. The Cold War was also underway, and America’s opponents used its treatment of minorities as proof of its hypocrisy.

The Civil Rights Movement also benefited from having strong and charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael. And finally, there was increasing support from the federal government under presidents like JFK and LBJ.

All of these factors helped create an atmosphere ripe for change; however, it was the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that would ultimately lead to desegregation in America’s public schools.

The Post-Brown Era

The decision in Brown v. Board of Education was a turning point in American history, one that helped bring about the end of legal segregation and racial discrimination in this country. The effects of the ruling were far-reaching, and America is still feeling them today.

In the years since Brown, the desegregation of schools has been slow and often difficult. Many communities have resisted integration, and there have been a number of riots and protests over the issue. But slowly, attitudes have changed and schools have become more diverse.

Today, racism and segregation are still problems in America, but they are no longer legal or tolerated in most places. Thanks to Brown v. Board of Education, all Americans now have the right to an equal education, regardless of race or ethnicity.


The Brown v. Board of Education decision was a pivotal moment in American history. It marked a major turning point in the struggle for racial equality, and helped to usher in a new era of civil rights for all Americans. The decision was also a powerful symbol of hope for many Americans who had long been denied their basic rights. Today, the Brown decision remains an important part of our nation’s history, and its legacy continues to inspire Americans of all backgrounds to fight for justice and equality.

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