Brown v. Board of Education

Decided in 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education was a US Supreme Court case that took away a state's rights to segragate schools. It overturned an earlier case, Plessy v. Ferguson. This ruling allowed for school integration.

1,983 Questions
Brown v. Board of Education

What was the US Supreme Court case Brown v Board of Education about and how did it help end segregation?

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, (1954) was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled segregation in the public schools was unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Earl Warren, in writing the Court opinion, declared "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" because they violated the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. This overturned the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held the concept of "separate but equal" was constitutional.

Explanation

Brown v. Board of Education was a class action suit representing the collective rights of thirteen Topeka, Kansas, parents and their twenty-one children. The Court consolidated four other cases into Brown: Briggs v. Elliot (South Carolina); Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (Virginia); Gebhart v. Belton (Delaware); and Bolling v. Sharpe (Washington, D.C.).

All five cases, although originating in different states and representing slightly different facts, were sponsored by the NAACP, and argued before the Court by their Chief Counsel, Thurgood Marshall, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court, in 1967.

The cases, together, illustrated different aspects of problems inherent in de jure segregation (segregation ordered by law, rather than by uncontrollable circumstances). The Topeka case did not allege, as commonly believed, that the African-American school was inferior in quality, but that a segregated education deprived the minority of equal educational opportunity and was psychologically damaging because it promoted a feeling of inferiority among the African-American children.

On the opening page of the Court's opinion, Chief Justice Warren laid out the following:

"(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. [347 U.S. 483, 484]..."

(See Related Links for full opinion)

History of Linda Brown and the Topeka School District

Linda Brown, a bright 8-year-old third-grader living in an integrated neighborhood in the Topeka School District, attended a Monroe Elementary, a segregated primary school for African-American children. In order to get to school, she had to walk seven blocks to a bus stop, then ride a bus one mile to school, bypassing Sumner Elementary, an all-white school just five blocks from her house.

The Topeka School District was unusual in that only its elementary schools were segregated, a practice allowed by an 1879 Kansas law that permitted, but did not require, school districts to maintain segregated schools in towns and cities with populations over 15,000.

The district's middle school had been integrated in 1941; the high school had been integrated since it opened in 1871, but kept its sports program and social activities separate.

McKinley Burnett, head of the local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a social activism group) had already decided to fight school segregation, and began recruiting parents from the local community. Oliver Brown's friend, Charles Scott, a Topeka civil rights attorney, urged Brown to participate. The lawsuit bearing Oliver Brown's name included twelve other parents and their 21 children. The NAACP sponsored the suit, providing free legal advice and counsel to the Topeka families.

NAACP leaders encouraged the families to attempt to enroll their children at nearby Sumner Elementary in the Fall of 1950, fully expecting their enrollment would be denied. And it was.

A three-judge panel initially heard the case in District court, and found in favor of the school district, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. While the panel acknowledged segregation in education had a negative effect on African-American children, it refused to grant relief under the law, stating black and white schools in Topeka were substantially similar in quality, curriculum and teacher qualifications.

The NAACP followed the appeals process all the way to the Supreme Court, where Marshall was compelled to argue the case twice, once in 1952 and once in 1953, because the Supreme Court Justices wanted briefs from each of the five attorneys answering five questions regarding their opinions as to whether Congress had public school segregation in mind when they ratified the 14th Amendment.

In deciding for the plaintiffs in Brown, Chief Justice Warren eloquently concluded:

"To separate them [children in grade and high schools] 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 to ever be undone…"

After the landmark decision, Topeka integrated its elementary schools with no protest from teachers or parents. As one plaintiff, Zelma Henderson, remembers:

"They accepted it," she said. "It wasn't too long until they integrated the teachers and principals."

For more detailed information on the case, see the Related Link, below. the civil rights movement.

Case Citation:

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

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Brown v. Board of Education

How do you cite Brown v Board of Education of Topeka?

Legal Bluebook

The MLA now recommends using Legal Bluebook format for case citations.

First citation: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954). Print.

Subsequent citations: Brown, 347 US at 485. (for example)

Citation dissected

  1. Short title or caption (in italics)
  2. Volume number
  3. U.S. (abbreviation for US Reports)
  4. Beginning page number
  5. Page being referenced
  6. Year decided (in parentheses)
  7. Period

Subsequent citations typically drop the Respondent's name (with a few exceptions), the page the case starts on, and the year decided.

Old-Style MLA Format

If, for some reason, you're required to use the old MLA format, the citation is as follows:

Brown v. Board of Educ. 347 U. S. Reports (17 May 1954): 483-500. Print.

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Brown v. Board of Education

Why was Brown v. Board of Education significant?

Brown v. Board of Education, (1954) declared that segregation in the school systems was unconstitutional.

With this decision, the Supreme Court put an end to the pretense that "separate" could be assured of being "equal" (as established in Plessy v. Ferguson) and thereby struck down all laws mandating racially-segregated educational facilities; shortly following this was a series of Civil Rights Acts ending de jure segregation more generally, along with the civil-rights movement for active integration toward racial harmony.

More Information:

The Supreme Court of the United States, in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) held that "separate but equal" public facilities were not unconstitutional according to the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause. There were obvious moral problems with this ruling. In much of the US South, African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens, much like South African blacks were treated in apartheid South Africa. Although technically all blacks in the United States were given access to the same kinds of facilities as whites, they were prohibited from using the "white-only" facilities which almost always were far superior in quality.

The Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Topeka Kansas Board of Education et al. (1954) held that separate facilities, in education, were "inherently unequal" in that they essentially caused black schoolchildren to be stigmatized, psychologically, in being prohibited from attending public schools reserved only for whites. This, the majority argued, made "separate but equal" unequal in de facto terms.

Although some have criticized this decision on the psychological argument, it was a landmark case that essentially overturned the 1896 Plessy decision of "separate but equal".

Since the Supreme Court operates on the rule of precedent- where one decision is used in future decisions that have similar Constitutional implications- Brown paved the way for whole-scale desegregation of the South (and some parts of the North as well). After Brown a succession of cases, and finally Congressional legislation with the Civil Rights Laws passed in the mid-1960s, forbade segregation in first public, and later private facilities. It all started with Brown.

Case Citation:

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

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What was the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education?

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brown and declared that segregation in the public schools wasunconstitutional.

Oliver L. Brown et al v the Board of Education of Topeka was one of the most important legal decisions in the history of our country. In 1954 it tore down the legal basis for segregation in schools and other public facilities. It was not the first challenge to segregation, it was the successful challenge that brought legal segregation to an end.

Five cases were combined under Brown because each sought the same remedy at law. Brown challenged the inferior conditions at segregated black schools. Black students were burdened with inferior curricula, inferior school supplies and outdated textbooks that had to be shared by several students, inferior teacher training, grossly inadequate school facilities, poor teacher training, large classes, long travel distances, etc., etc., etc. Black students were denied extra-curricular activities of any kind.

In the Brown decision the Supreme Court declared that segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees ALL citizens equal protection under the laws of our country. It decided that the segregation of black and white children in the public schools solely on the basis of race denied black children the equal protection of the laws EVEN IF the physical facilities were equal (which they never were). It initiated educational and social reform across the United States and was a factor in launching the Civil Rights Movement.

"Segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws." Accepting the arguments put forward by the plaintiffs, Warren declared: "To separate [some 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...." Summing up, Warren wrote: "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal... Segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws."

The Brown decision reversed three centuries of segregationist practice and thought in America. For that reason, the Brown decision is seen as a transforming event, the birth of a political and social revolution.

Case Citation:
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

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History of the United States
US Constitution
Brown v. Board of Education

What happened in fletcher vs peck court case in 1810?

In the 1810 decision of the Marshall Court, Fletcher v. Peck, the Supreme Court ruled that a state law was unconstitutional. This established the Supreme Court's right to act in matters that concerned one state alone, and not one state versus another state or states.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What principle was overturned in Brown v Board of Education?

The US Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, (1954) overturned as unconstitutional the segregationist "separate but equal" precedent established in Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896). In Brown, the Court held "separate but equal" was inherently unequal, and had no place in public education. This decision validated the Court's support of the civil rights movement and paved the way for ending legalsegregation in all parts of society.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What was President Eisenhower's attitude toward the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education?

President Eisenhower had not previously acted in the desegregation argument. However, he then intervened. While the president did not actively support desegregation and had reservations about the Brown decision, he understood his constitutional responsibility to uphold the federal authority. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to stand guard in Little Rock and protect black students as they walked to school. He therefore became the first president since Reconstruction to use federal troops to protect the rights of African Americans. so while he did not necessarily support intergration, he used federal troops to enforce the supreme courts order/decisions.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What year was the supreme court decision brown vs board of education?

The decision was handed down in May of 1954.

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

Was a case to decide if separate schools for Negro children and White children based solely on race was unconstitutional.

The case was on appeal from the U.S. District Court (Kansas)

The case was argued first on December 9 1952 and re-argued December 8, 1953 and finally decided on May 17, 1954.

The case actually en-compassed cases from Kansas, S. Carolina, Virginia and Delaware.

One of the main lines in the opinion by Chief Justice Warren was:'We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place.'

In all this case further answered the question that separation of American's by race is unconstitutional for any reason.

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Brown v. Board of Education

When was brown vs board of education argued?

The ruling was brought down on May 17, 1954. It overturned the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision of 1896.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What was the purpose of brown v board of education 2?

Mindless Behavior has girlfriends. They are in love.

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Who were the lead attorneys for both sides in Brown v. Board of Education?

The lead attorney for for Brown was NAACP Chief Counsel and future Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. He was the lawyer from the NAACP. He later became the first African American on the Supreme Court. He argued 32 civil rights cases before the US Supreme Court and won 29.

The lead attorney for the Respondents of the four segregation cases consolidated under Brown, was John W. Davis. Davis was a one-time Democratic Presidential candidate and a leading authority on Constitutional law. He died several months after the decision in Brown.

Attorneys for the respondent states in the consolidated case of Brown v. Board of Education and its companion case, Bolling v. Sharpe:

Brown v. Board of Education (State attorneys):

John W. Davis (South Carolina)

James Lindsey Almond, Jr. (Virginia)

Paul E. Wilson (Kansas)

H. Albert Young (Delaware)

Bolling v. Sharpe:

Milton Korman (District of Columbia)

Case Citation:

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

For more information, see Related Questions, below.

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Brown v. Board of Education

Who were the lawyers that worked on the case Brown v. Board of Education?

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Kansas) was initially filed in Federal District Court in February 1951. Charles Scott, a member of the Topeka NAACP legal team, argued the case before the lower courts, which upheld a Kansas law allowing school segregation in communities with a population over 15,000.

The NAACP expected this outcome, and planned to appeal the case on Constitutional grounds. The organization's legal team petitioned the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, a request that the High Court review the lower courts' decisions. Certiorari was granted on October 8, 1952.

At that time, Brown was combined with four other school segregation cases the NAACP was pursuing in Virginia, Delaware, South Carolina and Washington, DC. The collective cases assumed the name Brown et al., v. Board of Education of Topeka et al. (et al. is a Latin abbreviation meaning "and others".)

In 1952, future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was then Chief Counsel for the NAACP, assumed responsibility for the case, and was joined by co-counsel Harold P. Boulware and Spottswood W. Robinson, III. John W. Davis, one-time Democratic presidential candidate and an expert on Constitutional Law was lead opposing counsel.

The Supreme Court heard initial oral arguments delivered by Thurgood Marshall (for Brown, et al.) and John W. Davis (for the defense), on December 9, 1952. The Justices didn't render an immediate verdict. Instead, they submitted a list of five questions for which they wanted briefs and opinions from each of the lawyers arguing the case. The questions dealt with the history of the 14th Amendment and their impression of whether desegregation could be reconciled with the legislators' intent in framing that Amendment. The court also asked what remedies should be used in the event the Court declared segregation unconstitutional.

The rehearing convened on December 8, 1953, with Marshall again arguing for the Appellants and Davis arguing for the Appellees.

On May 17, 1954, the Warren Court published a unanimous opinion declaring segregation unconstitutional under the Equal Protect Clause of the 14th Amendment.

In recognition of his role in changing the course of history, Thurgood Marshall was featured on the cover of Time Magazineon September 19, 1955 (a huge honor in that era).

Case Citation:

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

NAACP Legal Counsel for Brown v. Board of Education:

Charles I. Black, Jr.

Harold Boulware

Robert L. Carter

Elwood H. Chisholm

William T. Coleman, Jr.

Charles T. Duncan

Jack Greenberg

George E. C. Hayes

Oliver W. Hill

Thurgood Marshall

Loreen Miller

William R. Ming, Jr.

Constance Baker Motley

James M. Nabrit, Jr.

David E. Pinsky

Louis L. Redding

Frank D. Reeves

Spottswood W. Robinson III

Charles S. Scott

John Scott

Jack B. Weinstein

The Topeka NAACP argued the Brown case. John Scott, Charles Scott, and Charles Bledsoe were the three attorneys, while McKinley Burnett (then President of Topeka NAACP) and Lucinda Todd (NAACP secretary and one of the plaintiffs) helped organize the case.

States' Legal Counsel for Brown v. Board of Education

John W. Davis (South Carolina)

James Lindsey Almond, Jr. (Virginia)

Paul E. Wilson (Kansas)

H. Albert Young (Delaware)

For more information, see Related Questions, below.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What issue started Brown v. Board of Education?

Segregation, in general. Brown v. Board of Education,(1954) was one of a series of consolidated test cases the NAACP devised to challenge the constitutionality of segregation in the public schools. Their hope was to argue these cases as Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection violations before the US Supreme Court.

Contrary to popular belief, the case didn't start because Linda Brown was unable to enroll in her neighborhood "all white" elementary school, although her rejection, as stated in the case, is a matter of fact. The petitioners in Brown, including the nominal plaintiff Oliver Brown, were recruited by local NAACP lawyers and instructed to attempt enrolling their children in the segregated "white" school. All parties knew the African-American children would be denied admission, which was the NAACP's preferred outcome. Had the Topeka, Kansas, schools integrated on request, they would have had to recruit plaintiffs from a less cooperative school district.

Brown was one of five cases the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund brought to the courts simultaneously, to demonstrate how pervasive racism and segregation were, and to increase their chances of being granted certiorari by the US Supreme Court.

Case Citation:

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

For more information, see Related Questions, below.

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Brown v. Board of Education

How was the US Supreme Court's vote divided in Brown v. Board of Education?

The US Supreme Court's vote in Brown v. Board of Education, (1954) holding segregation in public education is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause was unanimous at 9-0.

Case Citation:

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

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How did the decision in Brown v. Board of Education impact society and the struggle for civil rights?

Brown changed the ways that Education was doled out to children. Before this Supreme Court decision, Black and White children went to separate schools in many states (primarily the "south"). The Supreme Court had previously upheld this practice if the education was separate but equal. This decision determined that the education was definitely not equal, and now all public schools are integrated. It was a huge step for education and for equality.

Case Citation:

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

For more information about Brown v. Board of Education, see Related Links, below.

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Who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when Brown v. Board of Education was decided?

Chief Justice Fred Vinson lead the Court when the Brown petition was placed on the docket, but died in 1953, before the case could be resolved. Chief Justice Earl Warren succeeded Vinson and wrote the unanimous opinion for Brown v. Board of Education,(1954). Warren presided over many cases that expanded civil rights for African-Americans.

Case Citation:

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

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Who is the leader of Virginia's NAACP defense in the companion case to Brown v Board of Education?

Virginia NAACP Defense

Spottswood W. Robinson III was the leader of Virginia's NAACP defense in the Virginia case, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, which was one of five cases consolidated as Brown v. Board of Education, (1954).

A companion case, Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954), was heard separately because it originated in Washington, DC, which is federal, not state, territory. This case had to be considered in terms of specific federal statutes.

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Plessy v. Ferguson

What is the relationship between Brown v. Board of Education 1954 and Plessy v. Ferguson 1896?

The landmark case that desegregated schools was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a 1954 case in which the Supreme Court Justices unanimously ruled segregation in the public schools was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren, in writing the Court opinion, declared "separate but equal is inherently unequal," because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. This overturned the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held the concept of "separate but equal" was constitutional.

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896)

The state of Louisiana passed a law requiring separate railroad coach cars for African-Americans and Caucasians. Plessy, who was seven-eighths Caucasian, took a seat in the "whites-only" car, refused to move to the "black" car, and was subsequently arrested.

The case was upheld in the lower courts, then petitioned to the US Supreme Court for review in light of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

The Court, in an opinion delivered by Justice Brown, held that state-sanctioned segregation was constitutional, as long as the separate facilities were equal. As precedent, Brown cited both the Civil Rights Cases, 109 US 3 (1883), which determined the 14th Amendment applied only to states, but not to private individuals or businesses, and the fact that Washington D.C. public schools, under the rule of federal government, was already practicing segregation in education. Justice Brown further concluded that segregation in public accommodations did not constitute discrimination.

Justice Harlan, in an impassioned and prophetic lone dissent, wrote (in part):

"In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case. It was adjudged in that case that the descendants of Africans who were imported into this country and sold as slaves were not included nor intended to be included under the word "citizens" in the Constitution, and could not claim any of the rights and privileges which that instrument provided for and secured to citizens of the United States; that, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, they were "considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them."

and

"The recent amendments of the Constitution [referring to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments], it was supposed, had eradicated these principles from our institutions. But it seems that we have yet, in some of the States, a dominant race -- a superior class of citizens, which assumes to regulate the enjoyment of civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race. The present decision, it may well be apprehended, will not only stimulate aggressions, more or less brutal and irritating, upon the admitted rights of colored citizens, but will encourage the belief that it is possible, by means of state enactments, to defeat the beneficent purposes which the people of the United States had in view when they adopted the recent amendments of the Constitution, by one of which the blacks of this country were made citizens of the United States and of the States in which they respectively reside, and whose privileges and immunities, as citizens, the States are forbidden to abridge.

"Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks. The destinies of the two races in this country are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law. What can more certainly arouse race hate, what more certainly create and perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races, than state enactments which, in fact, proceed on the ground that colored citizens are so inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by white citizens. That, as all will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation as was enacted in Louisiana."

and

"The arbitrary separation of citizens on the basis of race while they are on a public highway is a badge of servitude [in violation of the 13th Amendment] wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. It cannot be justified upon any legal grounds."

The majority opinion gave rise to the "separate but equal" doctrine that invaded nearly every aspect of African-Americans' lives. Plessy represented the South's reaction to, and contravention of, the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Court's decision gave tacit permission to the establishment of Jim Crow laws, which violated the civil rights of African-Americans in a way not anticipated by the Constitution.

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

Brown was a consolidation of five cases addressing racial discrimination inherent in the "separate but equal" doctrine. The NAACP argued that prohibiting African-Americans from attending then-all-white schools was de jure (legalized) discrimination prohibited by the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

The question before the Court: "Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?"

In a unanimous decision, the Warren Court concluded that the equalization of tangible factors, such as facilities and instructional materials, did not foster equality because intangible factors, such as segregation itself, was stigmatizing and created an inferior class of citizens.

Brown v. Board of Education, (1954) effectively gutted the decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896), and established that "separate but equal" is not equal.

Although Brown began the process of integration, it did not effect immediate change. The Court convened a year later to devise a practical method of facilitating desegregation, a topic not addressed until Brown II (Brown v. Board of Education, 349 US 294 (1955).

In Brown II, the Court's instructions were vague and left too much leeway for school districts to delay action. The individual cases were remanded back to their District Courts for orders and enforcement (the US Supreme Court has no enforcement power), with the instruction to "admit the parties to these cases to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed."

Unfortunately, the federal government did little to enforce the Supreme Court ruling until Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

While society has changed dramatically since Plessy and even since Brown, human nature has not. The quest for equality is an ongoing struggle that demands vigilance and effort from all who support its goals.

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When and where was Linda Brown of Brown v. Board of Education born?

Although most published accounts give her birth year as 1943, the Kansas State Historical Society claims Linda Brown was born on February 20, 1942, in Topeka, Kansas.

Assuming this date is correct, she would have been 9 (not 8) years old when her father tried to enroll her at the all-white Sumner Elementary in the fall of 1951, and 12 years old when the case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was decided in May of 1954.

At 12, Linda was too old to benefit from the ruling, as she was preparing to enter Jr. High School in the fall. The Jr. High and High Schools in Topeka were already integrated.

As of March 2010, Linda Brown is still alive.

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Who was the Governor of Kansas during Brown v. Board of Education?

Edward Ferdinand Arn (R) was the 32nd governor of Kansas, from 1951-1955.

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Brown v. Board of Education

Who was the President when the US Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education?

Harry S. Truman was President when Brown v. Board of Education was originally filed, in 1951; Dwight D. Eisenhower was President when the Supreme Court ruled on the case in 1954.

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Who was Brown in Brown v Board of Education?

Brown is Oliver Brown, the nominal plaintiff in the original class action suit against the Topeka, Kansas, Board of Education. His daughter, Linda, was a student in a segregated elementary school in Topeka and had been denied enrollment in her neighborhood school due to her race. The NAACP recruited Brown and twelve other parents to challenge the school district's discriminatory policies. Oliver Brown's name was used because the legal team thought having a man's name at the head of the list would give them a strategic advantage.

By the time Brown v. Board of Education reached the US Supreme Court, it had been consolidated with three other school segregation cases from around the country, and paired with a companion case from the District of Columbia.

Case citation:

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

For more information, see Related Questions, below.

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Brown v. Board of Education

What doctrine did Brown v. Board of Education overturn?

In 1954, the US Supreme Court overturned the decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896) that established the "separate but equal" doctrine allowing Jim Crow laws to flourish across the country. In Brown, the Court recognized that "separate" was rarely, if ever, "equal."

Case Citation:

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

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How did brown vs board of education affect segregation?

It made it possible for African American children to attend white only schools. It also removed the idea that a person was equal even though they were not allowed to enjoy the same treatment as others. One of the little known outcomes of the Brown ruling was the creation of the voucher system for schools to stop intergration of white schools.

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What was the landmark decision made by the supreme court in the case brown v board of education?

segregation in public schools was unconstitutional

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