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Brown v. Board of Education

Following is the case brief for Brown v. Board of Education, United States Supreme Court, (1954)

Case Summary of Brown v. Board of Education:

  • Oliver Brown was denied admission into a white school
  • As a representative of a class action suit, Brown filed a claim alleging that laws permitting segregation in public schools were a violation of the 14 th Amendment equal protection clause .
  • After the District Court upheld segregation using Plessy v. Ferguson as authority, Brown petitioned the United States Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court held that segregation had a profound and detrimental effect on education and segregation deprived minority children of equal protection under the law.

Brown v. Board of Education Case Brief

Statement of Facts:

Oliver Brown and other plaintiffs were denied admission into a public school attended by white children. This was permitted under laws which allowed segregation based on race. Brown claimed that the segregation deprived minority children of equal protection under the 14 th Amendment.  Brown filed a class action, consolidating cases from Virginia, South Carolina, Delaware and Kansas against the Board of Education in a federal district court in Kansas.

Procedural History:

Brown filed suit against the Board of Education in District Court. After the District Court held in favor of the Board, Brown appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Issues and Holding:

Does the segregation on the basis of race in public schools deprive minority children of equal educational opportunities, violating the 14 th Amendment? Yes.

The Court Reversed the District Court’s decision.

Rule of Law or Legal Principle Applied:

Separating educational facilities based on racial classifications is unequal in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 th Amendment.

The Court held that looking to historical legislation and prior cases could not yield a true meaning of the 14 th Amendment because each is inconclusive.

At the time the 14 th Amendment was enacted, almost no African American children were receiving an education. As such, trying to determine the historical intentions surrounding the 14 th Amendment is not helpful. In addition, few public schools existed at the time the amendment was adopted.

Analyzing the text of the amendment itself is necessary to determine its true meaning. The Court held the basic language of the Amendment suggests the intent to prohibit all discriminatory legislation against minorities.

Despite the fact each facility is essentially the same, the Court held it was necessary to examine the actual effect of segregation on education. Over the past few years, public education has turned into one of the most valuable public services both state and local governments have to offer. Since education has a heavy bearing on the future success of each child, the opportunity to be educated must be equal to each student.

The Court stated that the opportunity for education available to segregated minorities has a profound and detrimental effect on both their hearts and minds. Studies showed that segregated students felt less motivated, inferior and have a lower standard of performance than non-minority students. The Court explicitly overturned Plessy v. Ferguson , 163 U.S. 537 (1896), stating that segregation deprives African-American students of equal protection under the 14 th Amendment.

Concurring/ Dissenting opinion :

Unanimous decision led by Justice Warren.

Significance:

Brown v. Board of Education was the landmark case which desegregated public schools in the United States. It abolished the idea of “ separate but equal .”

Student Resources:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_brown.html https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483

Brown v. Board of Education: Annotated

The 1954 Supreme Court decision, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, declared that “separate but equal” has no place in education.

Linda Brown Smith, Ethel Louise Belton Brown, Harry Briggs, Jr., and Spottswood Bolling, Jr. during press conference at Hotel Americana, 1964

The US Supreme Court’s decision in the case known colloquially as Brown v. Board of Education found that the “[t]he ‘separate but equal ’ doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson , 163 US 537, has no place in the field of public education.” The Plessy case, decided in 1896, had found that the segregation laws which created “separate but equal” accommodations for Black Americans, specific to transportation but applicable generally, were not a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Segregation in education had been challenged throughout the first half of the twentieth century, and rulings in a number coalesced to propel Brown to the level of the Supreme Court to address segregation in all public schools.

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Below is an annotation of the opinion, with relevant scholarship covering the legal, social and education history leading up to and after the decision. As always, the supporting research is free to read and download.

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Judgment, Brown v. Board of Education

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954) (USSC+)

Argued December 9, 1952

Reargued December 8, 1953

Decided May 17, 1954

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS*

Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment —even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors of white and Negro schools may be equal.

(a) The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is inconclusive as to its intended effect on public education.

(b) The question presented in these cases must be determined not on the basis of conditions existing when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but in the light of the full development of public education and its present place in American life throughout the Nation.

(c) Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

(d) Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprives children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities , even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal.

(e) The “separate but equal” doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson , 163 US 537, has no place in the field of public education.

(f) The cases are restored to the docket for further argument on specified questions relating to the forms of the decrees.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases come to us from the States of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. They are premised on different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion.

In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis. In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-judge federal district court denied relief to the plaintiffs on the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine announced by this Court in Plessy v. Ferguson , 163 US 537 . Under that doctrine, equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities, even though these facilities be separate. In the Delaware case , the Supreme Court of Delaware adhered to that doctrine, but ordered that the plaintiffs be admitted to the white schools because of their superiority to the Negro schools.

The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not “equal” and cannot be made “equal,” and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. Because of the obvious importance of the question presented, the Court took jurisdiction. Argument was heard in the 1952 Term, and reargument was heard this Term on certain questions propounded by the Court.

Reargument was largely devoted to the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. It covered exhaustively consideration of the Amendment in Congress, ratification by the states, then-existing practices in racial segregation, and the views of proponents and opponents of the Amendment. This discussion and our own investigation convince us that, although these sources cast some light, it is not enough to resolve the problem with which we are faced. At best, they are inconclusive. The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments undoubtedly intended them to remove all legal distinctions among “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Their opponents, just as certainly, were antagonistic to both the letter and the spirit of the Amendments and wished them to have the most limited effect. What others in Congress and the state legislatures had in mind cannot be determined with any degree of certainty.

An additional reason for the inconclusive nature of the Amendment’s history with respect to segregated schools is the status of public education at that time. In the South, the movement toward free common schools, supported by general taxation, had not yet taken hold . Education of white children was largely in the hands of private groups. Education of Negroes was almost nonexistent, and practically all of the race were illiterate. In fact, any education of Negroes was forbidden by law in some states. Today, in contrast, many Negroes have achieved outstanding success in the arts and sciences, as well as in the business and professional world. It is true that public school education at the time of the Amendment had advanced further in the North, but the effect of the Amendment on Northern States was generally ignored in the congressional debates. Even in the North, the conditions of public education did not approximate those existing today. The curriculum was usually rudimentary; ungraded schools were common in rural areas; the school term was but three months a year in many states, and compulsory school attendance was virtually unknown. As a consequence, it is not surprising that there should be so little in the history of the Fourteenth Amendment relating to its intended effect on public education.

In the first cases in this Court construing the Fourteenth Amendment, decided shortly after its adoption, the Court interpreted it as proscribing all state-imposed discriminations against the Negro race. The doctrine of “separate but equal” did not make its appearance in this Court until 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson , supra, involving not education but transportation. American courts have since labored with the doctrine for over half a century. In this Court, there have been six cases involving the “separate but equal” doctrine in the field of public education. In Cumming v. County Board of Education , 175 US 528 , and Gong Lum v. Rice , 275 US 78 , the validity of the doctrine itself was not challenged. In more recent cases, all on the graduate school level, inequality was found in that specific benefits enjoyed by white students were denied to Negro students of the same educational qualifications. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada , 305 US 337 ; Sipuel v. Oklahoma , 332 US 631; Sweatt v. Painter , 339 US 629; McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents , 339 US 637 . In none of these cases was it necessary to reexamine the doctrine to grant relief to the Negro plaintiff. And in Sweatt v. Painter , supra, the Court expressly reserved decision on the question whether Plessy v. Ferguson should be held inapplicable to public education.

In the instant cases, that question is directly presented. Here, unlike Sweatt v. Painter , there are findings below that the Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other “tangible” factors. Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases. We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.

In approaching this problem, we cannot turn the clock back to 1868, when the Amendment was adopted, or even to 1896, when Plessy v. Ferguson was written. We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life throughout the Nation. Only in this way can it be determined if segregation in public schools deprives these plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws.

Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship . Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race , even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

In Sweatt v. Painter , supra, in finding that a segregated law school for Negroes could not provide them equal educational opportunities, this Court relied in large part on “those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school.” In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents , supra, the Court, in requiring that a Negro admitted to a white graduate school be treated like all other students, again resorted to intangible considerations: “…his ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn his profession.” Such considerations apply with added force to children in grade and high schools. To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against the Negro plaintiffs:

Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law , for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system .

Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. Ferguson , this finding is amply supported by modern authority. Any language in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to this finding is rejected.

We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal . Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Because these are class actions, because of the wide applicability of this decision, and because of the great variety of local conditions, the formulation of decrees in these cases presents problems of considerable complexity . On reargument, the consideration of appropriate relief was necessarily subordinated to the primary question—the constitutionality of segregation in public education. We have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws. In order that we may have the full assistance of the parties in formulating decrees, the cases will be restored to the docket, and the parties are requested to present further argument on Questions 4 and 5 previously propounded by the Court for the reargument this Term The Attorney General of the United States is again invited to participate. The Attorneys General of the states requiring or permitting segregation in public education will also be permitted to appear as amici curiae upon request to do so by September 15, 1954, and submission of briefs by October 1, 1954.

It is so ordered.

* Together with No. 2, Briggs et al. v. Elliott et al. , on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina, argued December 9–10, 1952, reargued December 7–8, 1953; No. 4, Davis et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al. , on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, argued December 10, 1952, reargued December 7–8, 1953, and No. 10, Gebhart et al. v. Belton et al. , on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Delaware, argued December 11, 1952, reargued December 9, 1953.

[Transcript available from the National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/brown-v-board-of-education ]

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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits states from segregating public school students on the basis of race. This marked a reversal of the "separate but equal" doctrine from Plessy v. Ferguson that had permitted separate schools for white and colored children provided that the facilities were equal.

Based on an 1879 law, the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas operated separate elementary schools for white and African-American students in communities with more than 15,000 residents. The NAACP in Topeka sought to challenge this policy of segregation and recruited 13 Topeka parents to challenge the law on behalf of 20 children. In 1951, each of the families attempted to enroll the children in the school closest to them, which were schools designated for whites. Each child was refused admission and directed to the African-American schools, which were much further from where they lived. For example, Linda Brown, the daughter of the named plaintiff, could have attended a white school several blocks from her house but instead was required to walk some distance to a bus stop and then take the bus for a mile to an African-American school. Once the children had been refused admission to the schools designated for whites, the NAACP brought the lawsuit. They were unsuccessful at the trial court level, where the 1896 Supreme Court precedent in Plessy v. Ferguson was found to be decisive. Even though the trial court agreed that educational segregation had a negative effect on African-American children, it applied the standard of Plessy in finding that the white and African-American schools offered sufficiently equal quality of teachers, curricula, facilities, and transportation. Since the NAACP did not challenge the details of those findings, it essentially cast the appeal as a direct challenge to the system imposed by Plessy. When the Supreme Court heard the appeal, it combined Brown with four other cases addressing parallel issues in South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. The NAACP was responsible for bringing each of these lawsuits, and it had lost on each of them at the trial court level except the Delaware case of Gebhart v. Belton. Brown stood apart from the others in the group as the only case that challenged the separate but equal doctrine on its face. The others were based on assertions of gross inequality, which would have violated the standard in Plessy as well.

  • Earl Warren (Author)
  • Hugo Lafayette Black
  • Stanley Forman Reed
  • Felix Frankfurter
  • William Orville Douglas
  • Robert Houghwout Jackson
  • Harold Hitz Burton
  • Tom C. Clark
  • Sherman Minton

Supreme Court opinions are rarely unanimous, and it appears that Justice Frankfurter deliberately argued for a re-hearing to stall the case while the Court built a consensus behind its decision. This was designed to prevent proponents of segregation from using dissents to build future challenges to Brown. Despite the eventual unanimity, the judges had a wide range of views. Reed and Clark were not opposed to segregation per se, while Frankfurter and Jackson were hesitant to issue a bold decision that might be difficult to enforce. (Jackson and Reed initially planned to write a dissent together.) Douglas, Black, Burton, and Minton were relatively ready to overturn Plessy from the outset, however, as was Chief Justice Warren. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's appointment of Warren to replace former Chief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson, who died in September 1953, thus may have played a crucial role in how events unfolded. Warren had supported the integration of Mexican-American children into California schools. Warren based much of his opinion on information from social science studies rather than court precedent. This was understandable because few decisions existed on which the Court could rely, yet it would draw criticism for its non-traditional approach. The decision also used language that was relatively accessible to non-lawyers because Warren felt that it was necessary for all Americans to understand its logic.

This decision ranks among the most dramatic issued by the Supreme Court, in part due to Warren's insistence that the Fourteenth Amendment gave the Court the power to end segregation even without Congressional authority. Like the use of non-legal sources to justify his reasoning, Warren's "activist" view of the Court's role remains controversial to the current day. The illegality of segregation does not, however, and a series of later decisions were implemented to try to force states to comply with Brown. Unfortunately, the reality is that this decision's vision of complete desegregation has not been achieved in many areas of the U.S., and the problems of enforcement that Jackson identified have proven difficult to solve.

U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Argued December 9, 1952

Reargued December 8, 1953

Decided May 17, 1954*

Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment -- even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors of white and Negro schools may be equal. Pp. 486-496.

(a) The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is inconclusive as to its intended effect on public education. Pp. 489-490.

(b) The question presented in these cases must be determined not on the basis of conditions existing when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but in the light of the full development of public education and its present place in American life throughout the Nation. Pp. 492-493.

(c) Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. P. 493.

(d) Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprives children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal. Pp. 493-494.

(e) The "separate but equal" doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson,   163 U.S. 537 , has no place in the field of public education. P. 495.

(f) The cases are restored to the docket for further argument on specified questions relating to the forms of the decrees. Pp. 495-496.

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Brown v. Board of Education

The case that changed america.

On May 17, 1954, a decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case declared the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional. The landmark Brown v. Board decision gave LDF its most celebrated victory in a long, storied history of fighting for civil rights and marked a defining moment in US history. The decision in Brown v. Board  remains a defining moment in U.S. history.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education occurred after a hard-fought, multi-year campaign to persuade all nine justices to overturn the “separate but equal” doctrine that their predecessors had endorsed in the Court’s infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision. This campaign was conceived in the 1930s by Charles Hamilton Houston, then Dean of Howard Law School, and brilliantly executed in a series of cases over the next two decades by his star pupil, Thurgood Marshall–the man who became Legal Defense Fund’s first Director-Counsel and a Supreme Court Justice.

Brown v. Board of Education itself was not a single case, but rather a coordinated group of five lawsuits against school districts in Kansas, South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 

PHOTO: Students and their parents who initiated the landmark Civil Rights lawsuit 'Brown V Board of Education,' Topeka, Kansas, 1953, Pictured are, front row, from left, students, Vicki Henderson, Donald Henderson, Linda Brown James Emanuel, Nancy Todd, and Katherine Carper; back row, from left, parents Zelma Henderson, Oliver Brown, Sadie Emanuel, Lucinda Todd, and Lena Carper. (Photo by Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images)

To litigate these cases, Thurgood Marshall recruited the nation’s best attorneys , including Robert Carter, Jack Greenberg , Constance Baker Motley , Spottswood Robinson, Oliver Hill, Louis Redding, Charles and John Scott, Harold R. Boulware, James Nabrit, and George E.C. Hayes. These LDF lawyers were assisted by a brain trust of legal scholars, including future federal district court judges Louis Pollack and Jack Weinstein, along with William Coleman, the first Black person to serve as a Supreme Court law clerk.

LDF relied upon research by historians like John Hope Franklin, and the work of social science researchers like June Shagaloff. Ms. Shagaloff was brought on staff by Marshall because he felt that chronicling the impact of segregation on children and families was critical to the success of LDF’s litigation. Her historical and social science research played a key role in LDF’s preparation for the successful Brown v. Board arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s now-famous doll experiments were also central to LDF’s success in Brown v. Board. The experiments demonstrated the impact of segregation on black children. In presenting three to seven-year-old children with four dolls, identical except for color, Clark found Black children were led to believe that Black dolls were inferior to white dolls and, by extension, that they were inferior to their white peers. The Supreme Court cited Clark’s 1950 paper in its Brown decision and acknowledged it implicitly in the following passage: “To separate [African-American children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”

The Doll Test

In the 1940s, pioneering psychologists Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark designed and conducted a series of experiments known as “the doll tests” to study the psychological effects of segregation on Black children.

After the five cases were heard together by the Court in December 1952, the outcome remained uncertain. The Court ordered the parties to answer a series of questions about the specific intent of the congressmen and senators who framed the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and about the Court’s power to dismantle segregation.  The Court then scheduled another oral argument in December 1953.  

Wrapping up his presentation to the Court in that second hearing, Marshall emphasized that segregation was rooted in the desire to keep “the people who were formerly in slavery as near to that stage as is possible.” Even with powerful arguments from Marshall and other LDF attorneys, it took another five months for the newly appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren’s behind-the-scenes lobbying to yield a unanimous decision. 

Recognizing the controversial nature of its decision, the Court waited another year to issue an order enforcing the decision in Brown II .  Even then, the Court was unwilling to establish a firm timetable for dismantling segregation. It ruled only that public schools desegregate “with all deliberate speed.”

LDF Clients and Lawyers Risked Their Lives for this Fight

Black women and girls were the voices behind the school desegregation movement since the beginning, but have often been relegated to the footnotes of history. in the kansas case that became brown v. board, all but one of the plaintiffs were women. black women and girls bravely took action to transform the american educational system and bring an end to segregation.

Unfortunately, desegregation was neither deliberate nor speedy.  In the face of fierce and often violent “ massive resistance ,” LDF sued hundreds of school districts across the country to vindicate the promise of Brown . It was not until LDF’s subsequent victories in Green v. County School Board (1968) and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971) that the Supreme Court issued mandates that segregation be dismantled “root and branch,” outlined specific factors to be considered to eliminate effects of segregation, and ensured that federal district courts had the authority to do so.

Even today, the work of  Brown  is far from  finished .   Over 200 school desegregation cases remain open on federal court dockets; LDF alone has nearly 100 of these cases.

The legal victory in  Brown  did not transform the country overnight, and much work remains.  But striking down segregation in the nation’s public schools provided a major catalyst for the civil rights movement, making possible advances in desegregating housing, public accommodations, and institutions of higher education.  The decision gave hope to millions of Americans by permanently discrediting the legal rationale underpinning the racial caste system that had been endorsed or accepted by governments at all levels since the end of the nineteenth century. And its impact has been felt by every American.

Learn More About Brown v. Board

The women of brown v. board of education.

The Girls who Shaped Brown v. Board of Education Their Untold Stories and the Sacrifices that Made Today’s Fight for Educational Equity Possible By Cara

The Southern Manifesto and “Massive Resistance” to Brown 

The Case that Changed America Brown v. Board of Education The Southern Manifesto and “Massive Resistance” to Brown Learn More About Brown v. Board Almost

The Significance of “The Doll Test”

A Revealing Experiment Brown v. Board and “The Doll Test” Learn More About Brown v. Board Doctors Kenneth and Mamie Clark and “The Doll Test”

Six of the Women Behind Brown v. Board of Education

The Case that Changed America Six of the Women Behind Brown v. Board of Education Learn More About Brown v. Board Throughout LDF’s history, women

Meet the Legal Minds Behind Brown v. Board of Education

The Case that Changed America Brown v. Board of Education Meet the Legal Team The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education Reading List

The Case that Changed America Brown v. Board of Education Reading list On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in

What Was Brown v. Board of Education? May 17, 1954, marks a defining moment in the history of the United States. On that day, the

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The 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education ended with a Supreme Court decision that helped lead to the desegregation of schools throughout America. Prior to the ruling, African-American children in Topeka, Kansas were denied access to all-white schools due to laws allowing for separate but equal facilities. The idea of separate but equal was given legal standing with the 1896  Supreme Court  ruling in  Plessy v. Ferguson . This doctrine required that any separate facilities had to be of equal quality. However, the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education successfully argued that segregation was inherently unequal. 

Case Background

In the early 1950s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought class action lawsuits against school districts in several states, seeking court orders that would require the districts to allow Black children to attend white schools. One of these suits was filed against the board of education in Topeka, Kansas, on behalf of Oliver Brown, a parent of a child who was denied access to white schools in the Topeka school district. The original case was tried in a district court and was defeated on the grounds that the Black schools and white schools were sufficiently equal and therefore segregated schooling in the district was protected under the Plessy decision. The case was then heard by the Supreme Court in 1954, along with other similar cases from around the country, and it became known as Brown v. Board of Education . The chief council for the plaintiffs was Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first Black Justice appointed to the Supreme Court.

Brown’s Argument

The lower court that ruled against Brown focused on comparisons of basic facilities offered in both the Black and white schools of the Topeka school district. By contrast, the Supreme Court case involved a much more in-depth analysis, looking at the effects that the different environments had on the students. The Court determined that segregation led to lowered self-esteem and a lack of confidence that could affect a child’s ability to learn. It found that separating students by race sent the message to Black students that they were inferior to white students and therefore schools serving each race separately could never be equal. 

The Significance of  Brown v. Board of Education

The  Brown  decision was truly significant because it overturned the separate but equal doctrine established by the Plessy decision. While previously the 13th Amendment to the  Constitution  was interpreted so that equality before the law could be met through segregated facilities, with Brown this was no longer true. The  14th Amendment  guarantees equal protection under the law, and the Court ruled that separate facilities based on race were ipso facto unequal.

Compelling Evidence

One piece of evidence that greatly influenced the Supreme Court decision was based on research performed by two educational psychologists, Kenneth, and Mamie Clark. The Clarks presented children as young as 3 years old with white and brown dolls. They found that overall the children rejected the brown dolls when asked to pick which dolls they liked the best, wanted to play with, and thought were a nice color. This underlined the inherent inequality of a separate educational system based on race.

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History - Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment

The plessy decision.

In 1892, an African American man named Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat to a white man on a train in New Orleans, as he was required to do by Louisiana state law. Plessy was arrested and decided to contest the arrest in court. He contended that the Louisiana law separating Black people from white people on trains violated the "equal protection clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. By 1896, his case had made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court ruled against  Plessy . In the case of  Plessy v. Ferguson , Justice Henry Billings Brown, writing the majority opinion, stated that:

"The object of the [Fourteenth] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality. . . If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane."

The lone dissenter, Justice John Marshal Harlan, interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment another way, stated, "Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens." Justice Harlan's dissent would become a rallying cry for those in later generations working to declare segregation unconstitutional.

The Road to Brown

(Note: Some of the case information is from Patterson, James T. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press; New York, 2001.)

Early Cases

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Plessy and similar cases, people continued to press for the abolition of Jim Crow and other racially discriminatory laws. One particular organization that fought for racial equality was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909. From 1935 to 1938, the legal arm of the NAACP was headed by Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston, together with Thurgood Marshall, devised a strategy to attack Jim Crow laws in the field of education. Although Marshall played a crucial role in all of the cases listed below, Houston was the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund while Murray v. Maryland and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada were decided. After Houston returned to private practice in 1938, Marshall became head of the Fund and used it to argue the cases of Sweat v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education .

Pearson v. Murray (Md. 1936)

Unwilling to accept the fact that the University of Maryland School of Law was rejecting Black applicants solely because of their race, beginning in 1933 Thurgood Marshall, who was rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policies, decided to challenge this practice in the Maryland court system. Before a Baltimore City Court in 1935, Marshall argued that Donald Gaines Murray was just as qualified as white applicants to attend the University of Maryland's School of Law and that it was solely due to his race that he was rejected. He argued that since law schools for Black students were not of the same academic caliber, at the time, as the University's law school, the University was violating the principle of "separate but equal." Marshall also argued that the disparities between the law schools for white students and Black students were so great that the only remedy would be to allow students like Murray to attend the University's law school. The Baltimore City Court agreed, and the University appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 1936, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Murray and ordered the law school to admit him. Two years later, Murray graduated with his law degree.

Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938)

Beginning in 1936, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund decided to take on the case of Lloyd Gaines, a graduate student of the HCBU Lincoln University in Missouri. Gaines had applied to the University of Missouri Law School but was denied admission because of his race. The State of Missouri gave Gaines the option of either attending a Black law school that it would build (Missouri did not have any all-Black law schools at this time) or Missouri would help to pay for him to attend a law school in a neighboring state. Gaines rejected both of these options and, with the help of  Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he sued the state to attend the University of Missouri's law school. By 1938, his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in December of that year, the Court sided with him. The six-member majority stated that since law school for Black students did not exist in the State of Missouri, the "equal protection clause" required the state to provide within its boundaries a legal education for Gaines. In other words, since the state provided legal education for white students, it could not send Black students, like Gaines, to school in another state.

Sweat v. Painter (1950)

Encouraged by their victory in Gaines' case, the NAACP continued to attack legally sanctioned racial discrimination in higher education. In 1946, an African American man named Heman Sweat applied to the law school at the University of Texas whose student body was white. The University set up an underfunded law school for Black students. However, Sweat employed the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and sued to be admitted to the University's law school attended by white students. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950, the Court unanimously agreed with him, citing as its reason the blatant inequalities between the University's law school (the school for white students) and the hastily erected school for Black students. In other words, the  two schools were "separate," but not "equal." Like the Murray case, the Court found the only appropriate remedy for this situation was to admit Sweat to the University's law school.

McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950)

In 1949, the University of Oklahoma admitted George McLaurin, an African American male, to its doctoral program. However, it required him to sit apart and eat apart from the rest of his class. McLaurin sued to end the practices, stating that they had an adverse impact on his academic pursuits. McLaurin was represented by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. It eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In an opinion delivered on the same day as the decision in  Sweat , the Court stated that the University's actions concerning McLaurin were adversely affecting his ability to learn and ordered that the practices cease immediately.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955)

The case that came to be known as  Brown v. Board of Education  was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the separate but equal concept in public schools. These cases were  Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ,  Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.) ,  Bolling v. Sharpe , and  Gebhart v. Ethel . While the facts of each case were different, the main issue was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled the cases.

The families lost in the lower courts, then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the cases came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court consolidated all five cases under the name of Brown v. The Board of Education. Marshall argued the case before the Court. Although he raised a variety of legal issues on appeal, the central argument was that separate school systems for Black students and white students were inherently unequal, and a violation of the "Equal Protection Clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also presented the results of sociological tests, such as the one performed by social scientists Kenneth and _______ Clark, arguing that segregated school systems had a tendency to make  Black children feel inferior to white children. In light of those findings, Marshall argued that such a system should not be legally permissible.

Meeting to decide the case, the Justices of the Supreme Court realized that they were deeply divided over the issues raised. Unable to come to a decision by June 1953 (the end of the Court's 1952-1953 term), the Court decided to rehear the case in December 1953. During the intervening months, Chief Justice Fred Vinson died and was replaced by Gov. Earl Warren, of California. After the case was reheard in 1953, Chief Justice Warren was able to bring all of the Justices together to support a unanimous decision declaring unconstitutional the concept of separate but equal in public schools. On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ."

DISCLAIMER: These resources are created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for educational purposes only. They may not reflect the current state of the law, and are not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on any pending case or legislation.

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Lesson Plan: Landmark Supreme Court Case: Brown v. Board of Education

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The Origin of Brown v. Board of Education

Linda Brown Thompson describes her childhood experiences that led to this case.

Description

The Supreme Court has the power to interpret the Constitution. Its rulings on cases determine the meaning of laws and acts of Congress and the president. Knowing the key decisions of the Supreme Court and the precedents they set is vital in understanding the meaning of laws, how our country has changed over time, and the direction the country is currently headed. In this lesson students will examine the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

In this lesson plan Landmark Supreme Court Case: Brown v Board of Education, the students will watch nine video clips that help the students analyze the significance and outcome of the case. To check for student understanding, a formative assessment will be used after each video clip. The teacher can assign a number to each formative assessment as listed below. Roll a die to determine what assessment the students will complete prior to each video clip.

1. Play-Doh

Students use Play-Doh to create an object that helps communicate their understanding of the film clip they just watched. In addition to the sculpture, a notecard that requires a title and a short explanation of the Play-Doh creation should be submitted.

Students should communicate the main idea of the video clip in 280 characters or less. Students can search the internet for an image or draw one to enhance the 280 characters that help communicate their understanding of the clip. The tweet can be posted to the social media site or a teacher can ask the students to take a screenshot of their creation and email it. The printed tweets can be pinned to a bulletin board or shared through a google doc, thus providing an opportunity for the class to review their work. This assessment can be done on a notecard in circumstances when the use of social media is not permitted.

3. Snapchat

Students can utilize the popular social media app to display their knowledge of an educational concept. Snapchat allows people to display their understanding of concepts through multiple methods that include drawing, photography, and acting. The students can enhance their snap creations by adding descriptive text, clip art, and additional pictures. This visual tool can be used safely by asking students to make their creation and share it on their phone with the teacher or send a screenshot through email to the teacher. This formative assessment method does not require the teacher to have a Snapchat account and it is advisable to NOT follow your students on the social media platform.

4. Whiteboards

Individual whiteboards can be used to allow the students to communicate their understanding of the clip in a sentence. The student then passes their board to a neighbor who writes a follow-up question based on the response. That student passes the whiteboard to another student who poses an additional question. The whiteboards are then returned to the original student and they answer the proposed questions. The use of a variety of colored dry-erase markers is advisable.

5. Word Grouping

Students should record ten terms they believe are important as they view the video clip. After viewing the clip, the students should work with a partner to establish a list of ten words that best represent the video clip. Next, the students should group the words into two categories and provide justification for the groupings.

6. Graffiti Wall

The teacher should place several sheets of chart paper on the wall. After watching the video clip the students should express what they learned by decorating the chart paper with descriptive text and/or pictures. This collaborative project encourages teamwork and communication to depict the meaning accurately.

As a class, determine the formative assessment to be used with each video clip, watch the video clip as a class, then provide time for the students to complete the formative assessment and share their work.

Students can use the chart below to take notes as they view the videos in this lesson.

Note Taking Chart: Supreme Court Case: Brown v. Board of Education (Google Doc)

Questions teachers should consider for discussion are listed below each of the following videos.

VIDEO CLIP: The Origin of Brown v. Board of Education (1:35)

VIDEO CLIP: Path to the Supreme Court (4:54)

Describe Linda Brown Thompson's childhood experience that led to this Supreme Court case.

Describe the images that are presented in the video and explain their significance.

Why did Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP choose the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case?

  • Explain the important aspect of Judge Walter A. Huxman's opinion in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case.

VIDEO CLIP: Consolidation of Cases (3:05)

Explain the cases that were consolidated into the Brown v. Board of Education .

  • Why did the Supreme Court decide to consolidate these cases?

VIDEO CLIP: The Doll Test (3:57)

Describe the "doll test" and its significance to the Brown v. Board of Education case.

  • What effect did the "doll test" have on the thinking of the justices during the case?

VIDEO CLIP: The Key Question and Decision (2:57)

What was the key question before the Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case?

Describe the process through which Chief Justice Earl Warren ensured the Court's decision would be unanimous.

  • Explain the decision as written by Chief Justice Earl Warren.

VIDEO CLIP: Reactions to the Decision (3:26)

Explain the different reactions to the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Describe the two statements by members of Congress referenced in the program. What was the effect of these statements?

  • What were some examples of resistance to the decision in the South?

VIDEO CLIP: Enforcement of the Decision 1 (3:35)

VIDEO CLIP: Enforcement of the Decision 2 (1:48)

Describe the statements of Thurgood Marshall regarding the actions of President Eisenhower in enforcing the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Explain the actions of President Eisenhower and the difficulty of enforcing the decision.

Describe the Supreme Court's actions in attempting to enforce its decision.

Why was the phrase "with all deliberate speed" included in the Brown v. Board of Education opinion?

  • Explain the effect that the phrase had on the implementation of the decision in the South.

VIDEO CLIP: Legacy of the Decision (5:37)

Describe the current debate on the Supreme Court regarding the meaning of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Explain Thurgood Marshall's statements on the state of race relations in the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education case.

  • Describe the significance and legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education case to law and society.

As a class, discuss the significance of this case, the precedent it set, and its legacy.

Extension Activity:

Choose an activity from C-SPAN Classroom's Deliberations site to engage in a structured student-centered analysis of the case.

Additional Resources

  • Handout: Supreme Court Case: Brown v. Board of Education (Google Doc)
  • Video Clip: Brown
  • Video Clip: Supreme Court Decision: Brown v. Board
  • 14th Amendment
  • Brown V. Board Of Education
  • Earl Warren
  • Equal Protection Clause
  • Integration
  • Segregation
  • Supreme Court

case study brown vs board education

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8 Things You Should Know About Brown v. Board of Education

By: Jesse Greenspan

Updated: September 12, 2023 | Original: May 16, 2014

The children involved in the landmark Civil Rights lawsuit Brown v. Board of Education, which challenged the legality of American public school segregation: Vicki Henderson, Donald Henderson, Linda Brown, James Emanuel, Nancy Todd, and Katherine Carper.

1. More than one-third of U.S. states segregated their schools by law.

At the time of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling , 17 southern and border states, along with the District of Columbia, required their public schools to be racially segregated. An additional four states—Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming—permitted local communities to do the same.

Although Black and white schools were supposed to be “separate but equal” in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, in reality they were anything but. In 1954, southern Black schools received only 60 percent of the per-pupil funding as southern white schools, up from 45 percent in 1940. Many southern Black schools therefore lacked such basic necessities as cafeterias, libraries, gymnasiums, running water and electricity.

2. Brown v. Board of Education started off as five cases.

Portrait of the African-American students for whom the famous Brown vs Board of Education case was brought and their parents: (front row L-R) Vicki Henderson, Donald Henderson, Linda Brown, James Emanuel, Nancy Todd, and Katherine Carper; (back row L-R) Zelma Henderson, Oliver Brown, Sadie Emanuel, Lucinda Todd, & Lena Carper, Topeka, Kansas, 1953.

In 1950 and 1951, lawsuits were filed in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia on behalf of Black elementary school students who attended legally segregated schools. Despite differing somewhat in the details, all alleged a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Dozens of parents signed on as plaintiffs, including Topeka, Kansas, resident Oliver Brown, a welder and World War II veteran who served as an assistant pastor at his local church. When the Supreme Court consolidated the cases in 1952, Brown’s name appeared in the title. This was done on purpose, a Supreme Court justice later explained, “so that the whole question would not smack of being a purely southern one.”

3. The plaintiffs took great personal risks to be part of the case.

After the lawsuits were filed, a number of plaintiffs lost their jobs, as did members of their families, and other plaintiffs had their credit cut off. The retaliation was arguably most severe in South Carolina, where whites burned down the house and church of a particularly energized plaintiff, the Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, and reportedly fired gunshots at him one night. DeLaine ended up fleeing the state, never to return.

Judge Julius Waring, a federal judge in South Carolina whose rulings advanced the cause of civil rights—including school desegregation—was also forced out. Facing death threats, he retired from the bench in 1952 and moved to New York City.

4. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall argued the case for the plaintiffs.

Portrait of Thurgood Marshall

The great-grandson of a slave, Thurgood Marshall attended Howard Law School prior to becoming the NAACP’s chief legal counsel. In the field of education, his civil rights cases initially focused on the inequalities between Black and white schools. Starting in 1950, however, he moved to dismantle segregation itself.

In Brown v. Board of Education—just one of his 32 appearances before the Supreme Court—Marshall opined that state-imposed segregation was inherently discriminatory and emotionally damaging. To bolster his argument, he cited several psychological studies, including one that found Black children preferred white to brown-colored dolls . After the High Court ruled in his favor, Marshall declared, “I was so happy, I was numb.” He later became the first Black justice on the Suprem e Court, serving from 1967 to 1991.

5. The U.S. government largely backed Marshall’s position.

aThe U.S. Department of Justice rarely takes a position in Supreme Court cases that do not involve federal law. But it made an exception for Brown v. Board of Education, filing a friend-of-the-court brief that maintained “separate but equal” facilities were unconstitutional. President Dwight D. Eisenhower , on the other hand, was less supportive.

While the case was still being considered, he told Chief Justice Earl Warren that southern whites “are not bad people.” And after the Court had ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional, he was reluctant to use his presidential authority to enforce the decision.

6. Brown v. Board of Education was a unanimous decision.

Following oral argument, Warren told his fellow justices that the “separate but equal” doctrine should be overturned. He then went about wooing those still on the fence, telling one that a dissent would encourage resistance in the South. In the end, all nine members of the court joined an opinion that Warren described as short, readable by the lay public, non-rhetorical, unemotional and non-accusatory.

Education is the “the very foundation of good citizenship,” the ruling stated. “To separate [Black children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”

7. The case had a sequel.

The Supreme Court included no guidance in Brown v. Board of Education on how to actually implement desegregation. Instead, it called for further court discussions, after which it issued a second unanimous ruling in May 1955. Known as Brown II, this seven-paragraph decision tasked local federal judges with making sure that school authorities integrated “with all deliberate speed”—an ambiguous phrase that repudiated the NAACP’s plea for tight deadlines.

8. The backlash to Brown v. Board of Education was widespread.

As expected, some southerners used all of the delay tactics at their disposal to avoid integrating. In 1958, for example, Virginia officials closed certain public schools rather than open them up to Blacks, and in 1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace famously proclaimed, “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

By early 1964, only about 1 percent of Black children in the former Confederacy attended school with whites, and those who did often endured constant harassment. Desegregation efforts would not get going in earnest until the later part of that decade.

case study brown vs board education

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Biographies of Key Figures in Brown v. Board of Education

In 1952, the Supreme Court agreed to hear five cases collectively from across the country, consolidated under the name  Brown v. Board of Education . This grouping of cases from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Delaware was significant because it represented school segregation as a national issue, not just a southern one. Each case was brought on the behalf of elementary school children, involving all-Black schools that were inferior to white schools.

In each case, the lower courts had ruled against the plaintiffs, noting the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling of the United States Supreme Court as precedent. The plaintiffs claimed that the "separate but equal" ruling violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. In 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in  Brown v. Board of Education that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th Amendment and was therefore unconstitutional.

The Five Cases Consolidated under Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. board of education of topeka, kansas.

( Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al. )

Linda Brown Linda Brown, who was born in 1943, became a part of civil rights history as a third grader in the public schools of Topeka, KS. When Linda was denied admission into a white elementary school, Linda's father, Oliver Brown, challenged Kansas's school segregation laws in the Supreme Court. The NAACP and Thurgood Marshall took up their case, along with similar ones in South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, as Brown v. Board of Education.  Linda Brown died in 2018.

Oliver L. Brown Oliver Brown, a minister in his local Topeka, KS, community, challenged Kansas's school segregation laws in the Supreme Court. Mr. Brown’s 8-year-old daughter, Linda, was a Black girl attending fifth grade in the public schools in Topeka when she was denied admission into a white elementary school. The NAACP and Thurgood Marshall took up Brown’s case along with similar cases in South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware as Brown v. Board of Education. Oliver Brown died in 1961.

Robert L. Carter Born in 1917, Robert Carter, who served as an attorney for the plaintiffs in Briggs v. Elliott, was of particular significance to the Brown v. Board of Education case because of his role in the Briggs case. Carter secured the pivotal involvement of social scientists, particularly Kenneth B. Clark, who provided evidence in the Briggs case on segregation's devastating effects on the psyches of Black children.

Harold R. Fatzer As Attorney General of Kansas, Harold Fatzer argued the case for the appellees (Kansas) in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Mr. Fatzer served as Kansas Supreme Court Justice from February 1949 to March 1956.

Jack Greenberg Jack Greenberg, who was born in 1924, argued on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, and worked on the briefs in Belton v. Gebhart. Jack Greenberg served as director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1961 to 1984.

Thurgood Marshall Born in 1908, Thurgood Marshall served as lead attorney for the plaintiffs in Briggs v. Elliott. From 1930 to 1933, Marshall attended Howard University Law School and came under the immediate influence of the school’s new dean, Charles Hamilton Houston. Marshall, who also served as lead counsel in the Brown v. Board of Education case, went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Justice Marshall died in 1993.

Frank Daniel Reeves Frank D. Reeves, who was born in 1916, served as an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board decisions of 1954, and 1955 ( Brown II). Mr. Reeves was the first African-American person appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Commissioners, although he declined the position. Frank Reeves died in 1973.

Charles Scott Charles Scott was a Topeka, KS, based lawyer who initially began the Brown case on behalf of Oliver Brown and the other litigants.

John Scott John Scott was a Topeka, KS, based lawyer who initially began the Brown case on behalf of Oliver Brown and the other litigants.

Earl Warren Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was born in 1891, secured a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing segregation in public schools and striking down the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. Warren also delivered the opinion in the District of Columbia case, Bolling v. Sharpe. Justice Warren died in 1974.

Briggs v. Elliott

( Briggs et al. v. Elliott et al., Members of Board of Trustees of School District #22 )

Harold R. Boulware Harold Boulware was born in 1913. In 1941, he became the chief counsel for the South Carolina NAACP and led the effort to gain equal pay for equal work for African-American teachers. Boulware gained fame as one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, along with Thurgood Marshall, in the Clarendon County Schools desegregation case, Briggs  v. Elliot.  Boulware also worked on the briefs in the Belton v. Gebhart case. He died in 1983.

Harry Briggs Harry Briggs and 19 other adults filed suit on behalf of 46 Black children, against R. W. Elliott, Chairman of the Clarendon County School Board of South Carolina . Briggs, who was born in 1913, was a father to three of the children named in the suit, two boys and a girl, as well as legal guardian of a third boy. Mr. Briggs died in 1986.

Kenneth B. Clark Kenneth Clark, who was born in 1914, provided expert social science testimony on behalf of the plaintiffs, illustrating the harmful psychological effects of segregation upon Black schoolchildren, in the Briggs v. Elliott  trial. At the time, Clark was an assistant professor of psychology at the New York City College and Associate Director of the North Side School for Child Development in New York City. The Supreme Court cited Clark’s influential research on the harmful effects of segregation in their decision on Brown v. Board of Education.

John W. Davis John W. Davis, who was born in 1872, was a democratic candidate for president in 1924, and former Solicitor General of the United States and ambassador to Great Britain. He served as lead counsel for the state of South Carolina in Briggs v. Elliott.

Joseph Armstrong DeLaine Born in 1898, minister and school principal Reverend J.A. DeLaine inspired some of his Summerton, SC, neighbors to petition the Clarendon County school system in November, 1949, to provide buses for Black students, just as they did for white students. When their efforts were met with resistance, the state chapter of the NAACP stepped in and agreed to sponsor a case that would go beyond transportation and ask for equal educational opportunities in Clarendon County. Harry and Eliza Briggs, the first two signers, lent their names to the case that came to be known as Briggs v. Elliott. Delanie died in 1974.

R. W. Elliott R. W. Elliott, as Chairman of the Clarendon County, SC, Board of Trustees of Summerton High School, was named as the lead defendant in  Briggs  v. Elliott. Six other members of the board were also named as defendants in the suit.

Thurgood Marshall Born in 1908, Thurgood Marshall served as lead attorney for the plaintiffs in Briggs  v. Elliott. From 1930 to 1933, Marshall attended Howard University Law School and came under the immediate influence of the school’s new dean, Charles Hamilton Houston. Marshall, who also served as lead counsel in the Brown v. Board of Education case, went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Justice Marshall died in 1993.

Robert McCormick Figg, Jr. Born in 1901, Robert McCormick Figg, Jr., was the South Carolina attorney, politician, and legal educator who represented the Clarendon County, SC, school board in Briggs  v. Elliott. Figg died in 1991.

Spottswood William Robinson, III Spottswood W. Robinson, III, who was born in 1916, taught law at Howard University, in Washington, DC, and eventually became dean of the school. He made his mark on the history of Brown v. Board of Education case along with his legal partner, Oliver W. Hill, by trying and winning the case Davis v. Prince Edward County School Board, Virginia. Robinson died in 1998.

Julius Waties Waring Judge Waring, as the lone dissenter in the court’s ruling in the Briggs  v. Elliott et al. case, alluded to the plaintiffs’ social science testimony regarding the harmful psychological effects of segregation upon black and white children. His dissent would foreshadow the eventual success of Brown v. Board of Education in overturning the Plessy decision based on the argument that “separate but equal” is inherently unequal. Judge Waring was born in 1880 and died in 1968.

Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia

( Davis et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia et al. )

Robert L. Carter Born in 1917, Robert Carter, who served as an attorney for the plaintiffs in Briggs et al. v. Elliott et al., was of particular significance to the Brown v. Board of Education case because of his role in the Briggs case. Carter secured the pivotal involvement of social scientists, particularly Kenneth B. Clark, who provided evidence in the Briggs case on segregation's devastating effects on the psyches of black children.

Dorothy E. Davis On May 23, 1951, a NAACP lawyer filed suit in the federal district court in Richmond, VA, on behalf of 117 Moton High School, Prince Edward County, VA, students and their parents. The first plaintiff listed was Dorothy Davis, a 14-year old ninth grader; the case was titled Dorothy E. Davis, et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et. al. It asked that the state law requiring segregated schools in Virginia be struck down.

John Davis John Davis, who was born in 1912, filed suit against the County School Board of Prince Edward County, VA, on behalf of his daughters Dorothy, Bertha, and Inez Davis, who were denied access to their local “whites only” school, in the case Davis et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al.

Oliver White Hill Born in 1907, Oliver Hill served as one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs on the case Davis et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al. Hill’s most famous case, Davis v. Prince Edward County, Virginia, became part of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Barbara Rose Johns On May 23, 1951, a NAACP lawyer, on behalf of 117 Moton High School, Prince Edward County, VA, students and their parents, filed suit in the Federal District court in Richmond, VA. The suit began, however, as a result of a student strike organized and led by 16 year-old Barbara Rose Johns, in an attempt to force the county to provide facilities equal to those provided to white high school students as required by law. Their case eventually became one of five included in the landmark 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education.

Spottswood William Robinson, III Spottswood W. Robinson, III, who was born in 1916, taught law at Howard University, in Washington, DC, and eventually became dean of the school. He made his mark on the history of Brown v. Board of Education along with his legal partner, Oliver W. Hill, by trying and winning the case Davis et al. v. Prince Edward County School Board, Virginia. Robinson died in 1998.

Bolling v. Sharpe

( Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al. )

Sarah Bolling Sarah Bolling and two other adults filed suit, on behalf of five Black children, against C. Melvin Sharpe and 13 others, including members of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Principal of Sousa Junior High School, for denial of admission of the minor plaintiffs to Sousa Junior High School solely because on their race or color.

Spottswood Thomas Bolling In 1951, the case of Bolling v. Sharpe  was filed in U.S. District Court, in Washington, DC. This case was named for Spottswood Bolling, the minor-aged son of Sarah Bolling. Spottswood was born in 1939. Ms. Bolling brought suit in her son’s name in the Bolling case, which addressed segregation at the Junior High School level within the District of Columbia. Although Bolling is historically considered one of the Brown v. Board of Education bundle cases, it was a different case due to the legal arguments. The plaintiffs could not argue this case on the basis of a violation of their citizenship rights to equal protection and due process, as in the other cases, because the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not applicable in the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court rendered a separate opinion on Bolling v. Sharpe., which was argued as a Fifth Amendment case.

Gardner Bishop On September 11, 1950, Gardner Bishop, a minister and community leader, led a group of 11 African-American children to Washington, DC’s new high school for white students, John Philip Sousa Junior High School. Bishop had been organizing parents to take action regarding the poor quality of the school their children were assigned to attend. He approached attorney Charles H. Houston on their behalf, the attorney who eventually represented Bishop, the parents, and their children in the DC segregation case, Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al.

George Edward Chalmers Hayes George E. C. Hayes argued the cause for petitioners in Bolling v. Sharpe. Hayes was born in 1894 and died in 1968.

Charles Hamilton Houston Born in 1895, Charles Houston was the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, dean of Howard University Law School, chief counsel to the NAACP, and the first African-American lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court. Houston launched a number of precedent-setting cases that targeted segregated education as the key to undermining the entire Jim Crow system, focused first on segregation in the graduate and professional schools of state universities. Houston provided legal representation for a group of Anacostia, DC, neighborhood parents, the Consolidated Parents Group , in the case Bolling v. Sharpe until serious illness necessitated that he be relieved by James Nabrit, Jr., a colleague from Howard University. Houston died in 1950.

Milton Korman Milton Korman served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for Washington, DC, and Chief Counsel for the District Board of Education in the case, Bolling v. Sharpe. Korman argued the case for the respondents.

James Madison Nabrit, Jr. In late 1949, a group of Anacostia, DC, neighborhood parents, the Consolidated Parents Group, joined with James Nabrit, Howard University professor of law, secretary of the University, and future president of the University, to legally challenge the separate but equal doctrine in the case of Bolling v. Sharpe. Nabrit was born in 1900 and died in 1997.

C. Melvin Sharpe C. Melvin Sharpe, acting as President of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia from 1948 to 1957, was named as the lead defendant in the case Bolling  v. Sharpe.

Belton v. Gebhart and Bulah v. Gebhart

( Belton et al. v. Gebhart et al . and  Bulah et al. v. Gebhart et al. )

Ethel Louise Belton Ethel Belton and six other adults filed suit on behalf of eight Black children against Francis B. Gebhart and 12 others (both individuals and state education agencies) in the case Belton v. Gebhart. The plaintiffs sued the state for denying to the children admission to certain public schools because of color or ancestry. The Belton case was joined with another very similar Delaware case, Bulah v. Gebhart, and both would ultimately join four other NAACP cases in the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Belton was born in 1937 and died in 1981.

Harold R. Boulware Harold Boulware was born in 1913. In 1941 Harold Boulware became the Chief Counsel for the South Carolina NAACP and led the effort to gain equal pay for equal work for African-American teachers. He gained fame as one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, along with Thurgood Marshall, in the Clarendon County Schools desegregation case, Briggs v. Elliot. Boulware also worked on the briefs in the Belton v. Gebhart case. He died in 1983.

Sarah Bulah Sarah Bulah was born in 1947. In the case Bulah v. Gebhart , she filed suit on behalf of her daughter, Shirley Barbara Bulah, against Francis B. Gebhart and 12 others (both individuals and state education agencies) for denying Sarah and the other named plaintiffs admission to certain public schools because of their color or ancestry . The Bulah case was joined with another very similar Delaware case, Belton v. Gebhart, and both would ultimately join four other NAACP cases in the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Francis B. Gebhart Francis Gebhart, as a member of the State Board of Education of the State of Delaware, was named as the lead defendant in both segregation cases,  Bulah et al. v. Gebhart et al.  and Belton et al. v. Gebhart et al.

Louis Lorenzo Redding Louis L. Redding, who was born in 1901, became Delaware’s first African-American attorney in 1929. Redding argued the cause for respondents in Gebhart v. Belton. He died in 1999.

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Du tauchst ein in die Welt eines der gravierendsten Gerichtsurteile der amerikanischen Geschichte: Brown v Board of Education. Dieses Urteil war nicht nur ein bedeutender Meilenstein in der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, sondern hat auch nachhaltig die Bildungslandschaft in den Vereinigten Staaten geprägt. In diesem Diskurs wird ein umfassender Überblick über die Hintergründe, Einzelheiten und Auswirkungen von Brown v Board of Education aufgezeigt, und dessen Bedeutung in der aktuellen Diskussion beleuchtet.

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Brown v Board of Education: Ein Überblick

Der Rechtsfall Brown v Board of Education ist wahrscheinlich einer der bekanntesten und wichtigsten Fälle in der Geschichte der Vereinigten Staaten, da er einen Wendepunkt in der Bürgerrechtsbewegung darstellte. Dieser Fall war monumental, da er die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen für verfassungswidrig erklärte und einen grundlegenden Schritt zur Beendigung der Rassendiskriminierung in den USA darstellte.

Definition: Der Fall Brown v Board of Education war ein historischer Fall des Obersten Gerichtshofs der USA im Jahr 1954, in dem entschieden wurde, dass die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen verfassungswidrig ist.

Hintergründe: Die Ursachen für Brown v Board of Education

Bevor der Fall Brown v Board of Education zur Anhörung vor dem Obersten Gerichtshof kam, war die Rassentrennung in den öffentlichen Schulen weit verbreitet, insbesondere in den südlichen Bundesstaaten. Diese Praktiken waren das Ergebnis einer Reihe von Gesetzen und Vorschriften, die als Jim Crow-Gesetze bekannt waren und die nach dem Bürgerkrieg eingeführt wurden, um die Rechte der Afroamerikaner einzuschränken.

Beispielsweise wurde in vielen Bundesstaaten die Trennung von Schülern nach Rassen durchgeführt. Es war üblich, dass schwarze und weiße Schulkinder in völlig getrennten Einrichtungen unterrichtet wurden, die in vielen Fällen sowohl qualitativ als auch quantitativ ungleichwertig waren.

Besonders interessant an diesen Hintergründen ist, dass vor Brown v Board of Education die Rassentrennung durch einen vorherigen Rechtsfall, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), gesetzlich legitimiert wurde. Dieser Fall legte das Prinzip "separate but equal" (getrennt aber gleich) fest, das de facto zur Errichtung eines Systems der Rassentrennung in den öffentlichen Einrichtungen führte.

Brown v Board of Education und Rassentrennung in der USA

Die Praktiken der Rassentrennung wurden in den USA tiefgreifend in Frage gestellt, insbesondere durch die Bürgerrechtsbewegung. In dieser politischen und sozialen Bewegung forderten Afroamerikaner und ihre Unterstützer Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz und das Ende der diskriminierenden Praktiken wie der Rassentrennung.

Der Fall Brown v Board of Education case im Jahr 1954

Im Zentrum des Falles standen Schulkinder afroamerikanischer Abstammung, die von Schulen in ihrer Gemeinde ausgeschlossen wurden, weil sie nicht weiß waren. Die Eltern dieser Kinder reichten Klagen ein und forderten das Ende der rassistisch motivierten Bildungspolitik.

Die Entscheidung: Brown v Board of Education im Detail

Der Oberste Gerichtshof der USA entschied schließlich im Brown v Board of Education Fall, dass die Trennung von öffentlichen Schulen nach Rassen grundsätzlich verfassungswidrig war. Sie kamen zu dem Schluss, dass separate Einrichtungen inhärent ungleich sind und dass diese Ungleichheit Afroamerikanern ihr 14. Verfassungszusatzrecht auf gleichberechtigten Schutz der Gesetze verweigerte.

Die Konsequenzen von Brown v Board of Education

Die Auswirkungen, die das Urteil in Brown v Board of Education sowohl auf die amerikanischen Bürgerrechte als auch auf das Bildungssystem hatte, sind kaum zu überschätzen. Es bildete die juristische Grundlage für die Gleichstellung der Rassen in den Vereinigten Staaten und legte den Grundstein für eine Reihe von Veränderungen in Bereichen wie Politik, Gesetz und Gesellschaft.

Definition: Die Konsequenzen des Falles Brown v Board of Education bezogen sich auf die unmittelbaren und langfristigen Auswirkungen, die das Urteil auf die amerikanische Gesellschaft und das Bildungssystem hatte. Es führte zur Eliminierung der Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen und trug zur Förderung von Gleichheit und sozialer Gerechtigkeit bei.

Brown v Board of Education: Einfach erklärt

Brown v Board of Education beendete die Rassentrennung in den öffentlichen Schulen, indem es erklärte, dass solche Praktiken verfassungswidrig sind. Dies bedeutete, dass Schüler nicht mehr aufgrund ihrer Rasse auf verschiedene Schulen verteilt werden durften. Die Entscheidung ebnete den Weg für ein inklusiveres und gerechteres Bildungssystem und war ein entscheidender Moment in der amerikanischen Bürgerrechtsbewegung.

Ein gutes Beispiel für die praktische Anwendung dieses Urteils ist die Tatsache, dass afroamerikanische Schüler nun das Recht hatten, in die gleichen Schulen wie ihre weißen Altersgenossen zu gehen. Schulbehörden einiger Staaten mussten ihre Politik zur Rassentrennung ändern, was letztendlich zu einer nachhaltigen Integration in Schulen führte.

Langfristige Folgen von Brown v Board of Education

Die langfristen Folgen von Brown v Board of Education reichen weit über die unmittelbare Beendigung der Rassentrennung in Schulen hinaus. Sie haben die Gesellschaft und Politik der USA tief geprägt und verändert. Einige der wichtigsten Folgen sind:

  • Ein Wandel des gesellschaftlichen Bewusstseins gegenüber Rassendiskriminierung
  • Die Anstöße zu weiteren bedeutenden Bürgerrechtsgesetzen, wie dem Civil Rights Act von 1964 und dem Voting Rights Act von 1965
  • Einen Präzedenzfall für zukünftige Fälle von Rassendiskriminierung

Brown v Board of Education und seine Auswirkungen auf das Bildungssystem

Die Auswirkungen von Brown v Board of Education auf das Bildungssystem sind enorm und vielfältig. Vor allem war das Urteil wegweisend für einen Wandel in der Unterrichtspolitik und -praxis, sowohl in Bezug auf die rechtlichen als auch auf die sozialen Aspekte.

Um diese Auswirkungen besser zu verstehen, lohnt es sich, das Bildungssystem der USA vor und nach dem Urteil zu vergleichen. Vor dem Urteil wurden schwarze und weiße Schulkinder in unterschiedlichen Schulen unterrichtet. Nach dem Fall jedoch wurden Gesetze und Richtlinien angepasst, um ein integratives Bildungssystem zu fördern und allen Kindern, unabhängig von ihrer Hautfarbe, Zugang zu qualitativ hochwertiger Bildung zu ermöglichen.

Brown v Board of Education in der aktuellen Diskussion

Brown v Board of Education ist auch heute noch relevant und spielt in aktuellen Diskussionen über Rassendiskriminierung und Bildungsgleichheit eine wichtige Rolle. Im Vergleich zu anderen historischen Ereignissen ist dieser Fall ausgesprochen präsent, da er grundlegende Themen und Konflikte repräsentiert, die die amerikanische Gesellschaft ständig beeinflussen und herausfordern.

Definition: Die Aktualität des Falles Brown v Board of Education bezieht sich auf seine fortwährende Relevanz und Bedeutung in heutigen Debatten und Diskussionen über Rassisme, soziale Gerechtigkeit und Bildungspolitik. Das Urteil ist ein ständiger Bezugspunkt für diese Themen und steht für die weitreichende und tiefgreifende Veränderungen, die es in der amerikanischen Gesellschaft eingeleitet hat.

Brown v Board of Education: Ein Wendepunkt in der amerikanischen Geschichte

Der Fall Brown v Board of Education markiert einen bedeutenden Wendepunkt in der amerikanischen Geschichte. Mit diesem Urteil wurde ein entscheidender Schritt bei der Beseitigung von Rassismus und Diskriminierung getan. Die Entscheidung hat die Art und Weise verändert, wie das Bildungssystem funktionierte, und hat wichtige rechtliche Prinzipien und Präzedenzfälle für den Kampf gegen Diskriminierung in verschiedenen Bereichen etabliert.

Einige bemerkenswerte Historiker beschreiben Brown v Board of Education als den Beginn des Endes der offiziellen Segregation in den USA. Obwohl die tatsächliche Umsetzung des Urteils Jahre dauerte und auf zahlreiche Widerstände stieß, war es dennoch ein entscheidender Moment, der den Weg für weitere Fortschritte in Richtung Rassengleichheit ebnete.

Ein Beispiel für die dauerhafte Bedeutung von Brown v Board of Education ist die Tatsache, dass es häufig in Diskussionen und Debatten über Bildungsungleichheit zitiert wird. Experten und Aktivisten verweisen oft auf diesen Fall, wenn sie die Notwendigkeit betonen, weiter an der Förderung von Gleichberechtigung und Gerechtigkeit im Bildungssystem zu arbeiten.

Relevanz von Brown v Board of Education in der heutigen Gesellschaft

In der heutigen Gesellschaft spielt Brown v Board of Education weiterhin eine wichtige Rolle im Diskurs über Rassengleichheit und Bildung. Die anhaltende Relevanz des Falles beruht auf seiner zentralen Botschaft: Das Prinzip, dass alle Menschen unabhängig von ihrer Rasse gleiche Bildungsmöglichkeiten haben sollten.

  • In Diskussionen über Schulpolitik und Bildungsreform wird oft auf Brown v Board of Education verwiesen.
  • Die Wendepunkte, die dieses Urteil darstellt, werden oft in Diskussionen über die amerikanische Geschichte und den Fortschritt der Bürgerrechtsbewegung hervorgehoben.
  • In aktuellen Debatten über Gleichheit und Diskriminierung dient Brown v Board of Education oft als Referenzpunkt und Symbol für den Kampf um Gleichberechtigung.

Als anschauliches Beispiel, in aktuellen Diskussionen über Maßnahmen zur Förderung von Diversität und Integration in Schulen, greift man häufig auf die Erkenntnisse und Prinzipien von Brown v Board of Education zurück. Es dient daran zu erinnern, dass Bildung ein grundlegendes Bürgerrecht ist und dass Ungleichheiten gefunden und bekämpft werden müssen.

Brown v Board of Education - Das Wichtigste

  • Brown v Board of Education: Historischer Fall des Obersten Gerichtshofs der USA 1954, erklärte Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen für verfassungswidrig.
  • Ursachen: Gesetze und Vorschriften (Jim Crow-Gesetze), die die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Einrichtungen förderten.
  • Hintergrund: Rassentrennung von Schülern, meistens ungleiche Qualitätsstandards
  • Entscheidung: Trennung von öffentlichen Schulen nach Rassen verfassungswidrig, Verletzung des 14. Verfassungszusatzrechts auf gleichberechtigten Schutz der Gesetze.
  • Konsequenzen: Juristische Grundlage für Rassengleichheit in den USA, Beitrag zur sozialen Gerechtigkeit und zur Gleichstellung im Bildungssystem.
  • Langfristige Folgen: Gesellschaftlicher Bewusstseinswandel gegen Rassendiskriminierung, Anstoß für weitere Bürgerrechtsgesetze, Präzedenzfall für künftige Fälle von Rassendiskriminierung.

Häufig gestellte Fragen zum Thema Brown v Board of Education

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Was ist der Fall Brown v Board of Education?

Welches Prinzip legalisierte die Rassentrennung vor dem Fall Brown v. Board of Education?

Wer waren die Parteien im Fall Brown v Board of Education?

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Der Fall Brown v Board of Education war ein historischer Fall des Obersten Gerichtshofs der USA, in dem entschieden wurde, dass die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen verfassungswidrig ist.

Vor Brown v. Board of Education legalisierte das Prinzip "separate but equal" (getrennt aber gleich) aus dem Fall Plessy v. Ferguson die Rassentrennung.

Die Parteien im Fall waren Oliver Brown und das Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

Welche Rechte wurden Afroamerikanern durch die Rassentrennung in Schulen laut dem Urteil im Fall Brown v Board of Education verweigert?

Die Rassentrennung in Schulen verweigerte Afroamerikanern ihr 14. Verfassungszusatzrecht auf gleichberechtigten Schutz der Gesetze.

Was war das Urteil im Fall Brown v Board of Education?

Das Urteil im Fall Brown v Board of Education erklärte die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen für verfassungswidrig, beendete diese Praxis damit und leitete einen Wandel hin zu einem inklusiveren und gerechteren Bildungssystem ein.

Welche Auswirkungen hatte Brown v Board of Education?

Brown v Board of Education hat die Gleichberechtigung der Rassen in den USA vorangebracht und die Politik, die Gesetzgebung und die Gesellschaft nachhaltig beeinflusst, einschließlich des Endes der Rassentrennung in Schulen und der Förderung von Gleichheit und sozialer Gerechtigkeit.

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Slate

The Trump Ballot Case Is This Generation’s Brown v. Board of Education

T he 14 th Amendment to the United States Constitution, forged in the wake of the Civil War, effectuated what many historians called a Second Founding of our nation. The Reconstruction amendments, including the 14 th Amendment, created foundational protections to American democracy, including ending chattel slavery, guaranteeing birthright citizenship, extending equal protection under the law, establishing Black men’s right to vote, and barring from public office those who betray their oath to the Constitution by engaging in insurrection against it.

Ensuring that government actors adhere to these protections has fallen repeatedly to the Supreme Court. Perhaps the most consequential decision in this regard was Brown v. Board of Education —the unanimous 1954 ruling that state-sanctioned segregation in public schools violated the 14 th Amendment’s right to equal protection. Although the decision was supported by a small majority of the country, it was met with violent opposition from a sizable minority of segregationists inside and outside the government. The backlash required President Dwight D. Eisenhower to deploy federal troops to Arkansas, and the Supreme Court to unanimously reaffirm in Cooper v. Aaron that its “interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment … in the Brown case is the supreme law of the land,” with “binding effect on the States.”

Now the Supreme Court is facing another inflection point to consider democratic protections. On Thursday, the justices will hear arguments in Trump v. Anderson , to consider whether to uphold Donald Trump’s disqualification from office given the Colorado Supreme Court’s finding that he engaged in an insurrection by inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. As the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which famously litigated Brown , argued in a friend of the court brief filed in Anderson , the “Reconstruction Amendments were enacted to ensure that the worst abuses in our nation’s history are not repeated and to achieve the fullest ideals of our democracy. But those Amendments are effective only when those responsible for applying them have the courage to do so.”

Of course, millions of Americans would be disappointed or even infuriated if Trump is removed from the ballot. Some may even turn to violence. But that threat is obvious given the former president’s incitement of violence after his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s supporters continue to threaten violence in his name, and without condemnation by the candidate . In his briefs before the Supreme Court, Trump has threatened “bedlam” if he is kept off the ballot, but the bedlam he provoked on Jan. 6 is how we got here—and why he is disqualified by the Constitution from serving as president again.

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court affirms Trump’s disqualification, states have different mechanisms for handling whether disqualified presidential candidates are allowed to be listed on the ballot. Certainly, some Trump-friendly state officials might also try to ignore, or nullify, any wider ruling removing Trump from the ballot and barring the counting of write-in votes for him, as the Supreme Court of Colorado has ordered under state law. But as the Supreme Court confirmed in Cooper v. Aaron , its interpretation of the Constitution will be the final word on the matter. And federal officials—not the states—are charged with formalizing the results of a presidential election. If the Supreme Court rules that Trump is constitutionally ineligible to hold the office of the president, it will undoubtedly lead to additional litigation in state and federal courts across the country to effectuate the decision, but the end result wouldn’t change—he cannot be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2025. Period.

In any event, bowing to threats of chaos or nullification means ignoring the text and the purpose of Section 3. The Constitution protects our democracy from attacks on the rule of law—even and perhaps especially if they are popular. Section 3 of the 14 th Amendment was specifically designed as a defense mechanism to prevent oath-breaking insurrectionists from undoing the nation’s Second Founding that America paid for in the blood of our countrymen. Allowing fear of potential backlash to forestall enforcement of the 14 th Amendment in this moment would be to cede our democracy to mob rule—just as Trump attempted on Jan. 6.

If the Supreme Court allowed concerns about civil unrest or violence to deter enforcement of the Constitution, especially the 14 th Amendment, then Black Americans and millions of others would never have secured the rights enshrined after the Civil War. Brown provoked immediate backlash from many white Americans, including violence, riots, and the founding of segregation academies throughout the South—with effects still seen today. Because the court did not cower in the face of this resistance, our country continued forward on the path toward a more just and democratic society.

Our highest court exists to interpret the Constitution, and our Constitution ensures that the fundamental rights of our democracy persist in the face of popular resistance or recalcitrant political leaders that threaten violence, civil unrest, or nullification. The rule of law must abide—even in the face of popular political figures or popular resistance. As conservative scholars have noted, Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, and thus became president only because of the Constitution and the Electoral College. Now, when the Constitution threatens his political future, Trump argues that it need not apply.

Brown and similar rulings are now part of the fabric of our nation, ensuring that all can enjoy the 14 th Amendment’s promise of “equal protection of the laws.” The Supreme Court upholding Trump’s disqualification could someday be seen similarly: a difficult, albeit necessary decision that provoked unrest, but one that ensured our democratic form of government and prevented greater potential injustices. Brown was not just about Black students attending segregated schools in 1954, but similar racial segregation for generations to come. Likewise, enforcing Section 3 of the 14 th Amendment against Donald Trump is less about the 2024 election than it is about ensuring that we have free and fair elections that will not be threatened by violent insurrections 50 or 150 years into the future.

The Trump Ballot Case Is This Generation’s Brown v. Board of Education

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  1. The Iconic Photos Taken After The Brown v. Board Of Education Decision

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  2. Why Brown v. Board of Education Is STILL the Most Important Court

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  4. Brown v. Board of Education Case Brief Summary

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  5. The Iconic Photos Taken After The Brown v. Board Of Education Decision

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COMMENTS

  1. Brown v. Board of Education

    Getty Images Brown v. Board of Education Verdict Sources Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial...

  2. Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education See all media Category: History & Society In full: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Date: May 17, 1954 Location: United States Context: American civil rights movement McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Key People: Thurgood Marshall Earl Warren Oliver Hill

  3. Brown v. Board of Education

    Board of Education (1954) Segregation in Public Education is Unconstitutional Overview In Topeka, Kansas, in the 1950s, schools were segregated by race. Each day, Linda Brown and her sister had to walk through a dangerous railroad switchyard to get to the bus stop for the ride to their all-Black elementary school.

  4. Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education March 13, 2017 by: Content Team Following is the case brief for Brown v. Board of Education, United States Supreme Court, (1954) Case Summary of Brown v. Board of Education: Oliver Brown was denied admission into a white school

  5. Brown v. Board of Education: Annotated

    The US Supreme Court's decision in the case known colloquially as Brown v.Board of Education found that the "[t]he 'separate but equal ' doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537, has no place in the field of public education."The Plessy case, decided in 1896, had found that the segregation laws which created "separate but equal" accommodations for Black Americans ...

  6. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

    Board of Education of Topeka Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) Argued: December 8, 1952 Argued: December 9, 1952 Argued: December 10, 1952 Reargued: December 7, 1953 Reargued: December 8, 1953 Reargued: December 9, 1953 Decided: May 17, 1954 Reargued: December 6, 1953 Reargued: December 7, 1953 Reargued: December 8, 1953

  7. Brown v. Board of Education: A Resource Guide

    Brown v. Board of Education: A Resource Guide In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court legally ended racial segregation in public schools, overruling the "separate but equal" principle set forth in Plessy v. Ferguson. This guide provides access to digital materials, websites and print resources. Digital Collections Have a question? Need assistance? Use our

  8. Brown v. Board of Education

    [4] The case originated in 1951 when the public school system in Topeka, Kansas, refused to enroll local black resident Oliver Brown 's daughter at the school closest to their home, instead requiring her to ride a bus to a segregated black school farther away.

  9. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (article)

    In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) a unanimous Supreme Court declared that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The Court declared "separate" educational facilities "inherently unequal.". The case electrified the nation, and remains a landmark in legal history and a milestone in civil rights history.

  10. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1)

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1) Opinions Syllabus View Case Appellant Oliver Brown, Mrs. Richard Lawton, Mrs. Sadie Emmanuel, et al. Appellee Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, et al. Location Monroe School Docket no. 1 Decided by Warren Court Lower court Federal district court Citation 347 US 483 (1954) Argued

  11. Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (USSC+) Argued December 9, 1952

  12. The U.S. court case that 'forced the nation to change'

    The former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas — one of four segregated schools for Black children that led to the Brown case — is now designated as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Park. The Little Rock Nine Civil Rights Memorial at the Arkansas State Capitol building honors students who integrated schools.

  13. Weighing the Impact of Brown v. Board of Education Decision

    How Brown v. Board of Education Changed Public Education for the Better. One of the most historical court cases, especially in terms of education, was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). This case took on segregation within school systems or the separation of White and Black students within public schools.

  14. Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education Learn more about the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education case which declared the "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional, ended segregation in schools, and fueled the civil rights movement.

  15. Court Case of Brown v. Board of Education

    The 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education ended with a Supreme Court decision that helped lead to the desegregation of schools throughout America. Prior to the ruling, African-American children in Topeka, Kansas were denied access to all-white schools due to laws allowing for separate but equal facilities. The idea of separate but equal was ...

  16. Brown v. Board of Education and the Development of Special Education

    The Court consolidated the cases and used Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka to address the separate but equal doctrine in public schools. , Davis argued that states had the right to educate their children as state officials saw fit and that the doctrine of separate but equal was constitutional. The case was heard by the Supreme Court in 1953.

  17. Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education is considered a milestone in American civil rights history. The case—and the efforts to undermine the decision—brought greater awareness to racial inequalities and the struggles African Americans faced. The success of Brown galvanized civil rights activists and increased efforts to end institutionalized racism ...

  18. History

    Pearson v. Murray (Md. 1936) Unwilling to accept the fact that the University of Maryland School of Law was rejecting Black applicants solely because of their race, beginning in 1933 Thurgood Marshall, who was rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policies, decided to challenge this practice in the Maryland court system.

  19. Landmark Supreme Court Case: Brown v. Board of Education

    STEP 1. In this lesson plan Landmark Supreme Court Case: Brown v Board of Education, the students will watch nine video clips that help the students analyze the significance and outcome of the ...

  20. How Dolls Helped Win Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education The dolls were part of a group of groundbreaking psychological experiments performed by Mamie and Kenneth Clark, a husband-and-wife team of African American...

  21. 8 Things You Should Know About Brown v. Board of Education

    1. More than one-third of U.S. states segregated their schools by law. Plessy v. Ferguson. At the time of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, 17 southern and border states, along with the ...

  22. Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education Significance and Effects Lesson Summary Frequently Asked Questions What are some facts about Brown v. Board of Education? Brown v. Board of Education...

  23. Biographies of Key Figures in Brown v. Board of Education

    Board of Education of Topeka. Mr. Fatzer served as Kansas Supreme Court Justice from February 1949 to March 1956. Jack Greenberg. Jack Greenberg, who was born in 1924, argued on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, and worked on the briefs in Belton v. Gebhart.

  24. Brown v. Board of Education Case: Summary & Significance

    Background and Civil War Amendments. Brown v. Board of Education was a 1954 landmark Supreme Court case that brought about the integration of public schools. The decision was one of many judicial ...

  25. Denied 'rightful place in history': Supreme Court refuses to ...

    In 1952, the Supreme Court consolidated all five cases under the name Brown v. Board of Education. Renowned civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who went on to become the first African American ...

  26. Brown v Board of Education: Case, 1954, Konsequenzen

    Brown v Board of Education - Das Wichtigste. Brown v Board of Education: Historischer Fall des Obersten Gerichtshofs der USA 1954, erklärte Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Schulen für verfassungswidrig. Ursachen: Gesetze und Vorschriften (Jim Crow-Gesetze), die die Rassentrennung in öffentlichen Einrichtungen förderten.

  27. The Trump Ballot Case Is This Generation's Brown v. Board of Education

    Perhaps the most consequential decision in this regard was Brown v. Board of Education—the unanimous 1954 ruling that state-sanctioned segregation in public schools violated the 14 th Amendment ...

  28. BROWN v. GREENE COUNTY VOCATIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION

    1. Plaintiffs' complaint also asserts claims under the Americans with Disability Act ("ADA"), the Rehabilitation Act, and Ohio law. Id. at PageID 13-18. Defendants are Greene County Career Center Board of Education ("Defendant Board"); David Deskins, superintendent of the Greene County Career Center School District; and Maurice Harden ...