When Was Brown Versus Board of Education?

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine established by the Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, a 1896 case that had legitimized state-sponsored racial segregation.

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Introduction

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The Court’s ruling declared that “separate but equal” public schools for white and black students were unconstitutional. This decision overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine set forth in the Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

The Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education led to the desegregation of public schools across America. This event is widely considered to be one of the most important moments in the Civil Rights Movement.

The Plessy v. Ferguson Case

The Plessy v. Ferguson case was the U.S. Supreme Court case that first upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine for public facilities. The case arose after a black man, Homer Plessy, was arrested for sitting in the “whites only” section of a New Orleans train car. Plessy challenged his arrest, claiming that the separate but equal doctrine violated the 13th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court sided with Ferguson, holding that “separate but equal” facilities did not violate the Constitution as long as they were equal in quality. The Court’s decision effectively legitimized Jim Crow laws and segregation throughout the United States.

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The Plessy v. Ferguson case was eventually overturned by the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, which held that “separate but equal” public schools were unconstitutional.

The Brown v. Board of Education Case

The Brown v. Board of Education case began with the Topeka, Kansas, school board’s refusal to allow Linda Brown, a black third-grader, to attend the all-white elementary school nearest her home. Linda’s father, Oliver Brown, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of his daughter and other black children in the district against the school board. The named defendants were Leslie Cook, Leonard Ritzert, and John McLaughlin, members of the Board of Education of Topeka.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on December 9, 1952. Chief Justice Vinson delivered the opinion of the Court on May 17, 1954. He wrote that Separate but equal facilities were not constitutional and that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The Court ordered desegregation “with all deliberate speed.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Brown v. Board of Education decision was a landmark moment in American history. This case changed the trajectory of public education in America and ensured that all children, regardless of race, would have access to a quality education. Although there is still much work to be done in order to achieve true equity in our nation’s schools, the Brown v. Board of Education decision was a critical step in the right direction.

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