The Brown v. Board of Education case was brought before the United States Supreme Court in 1952 arguing that maintaining separate public schools for black and white students denied African-American children equal educational opportunities, violating the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Brown’s argument was ultimately successful, leading up to the desegregation of American public schools throughout the United States.
The Brown v. Board of Education case was filed on May 17, 1951 by the NAACP on behalf of Brown and other parents whose children were denied admission to public schools attended by white students under laws requiring or permitting segregation by race. The decision was unanimous, with the Court applying the “equal protection” clause to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Brown was one of four cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education that collectively challenged segregation in public education.
There were initially five separate cases consolidated into Brown, including Brown II for the desegregation plan put forth by the district superintendent of schools in Kansas City, Missouri; Davis et al., for school desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia; Briggs et al., for school desegregation in Baltimore; Brown III on the legality of segregated private schools; and Bolling et al. vs. C. Melvin Sharpe on the District of Columbia’s racially segregated system.
The Supreme Court decision overruled Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which held that the racial segregation of public facilities was not in itself unlawful. Brown v. Board declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional, even when the segregated schools were otherwise equal in quality.
The Brown decision also incorporated by reference Justice Harlan’s earlier dissenting opinion in Plessy, which said that if “the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority…our Constitution is color-blind.” Brown II The Court recognized education as critical in perpetuating caste lines:
“When Brown was decided, no State had any plan to provide tuition grants for private school education and only five States had laws permitting or requiring some form of private or parochial school. Brown II Brown held that once a right is conferred to an indigent child, the family must be afforded available facilities capable of “substantially equivalent education.”
Brown II Brown also made clear that whatever rules were adopted must apply to all students equally regardless of parental income, not just those whose parents could afford to send their children to private academies. The Brown decision found it unconstitutional for states “to compel or coerce any student” attending public schools to attend other separate schools, even if the separate facilities were “equal.”
The Supreme Court ruling in Brown v Board of Education led to the integration of American public schools by race and class by 1956, but it largely failed at eliminating racial discrimination or segregation in schools. Brown was not the first case of its kind, Brown II Brown included cases that challenged desegregation on multiple fronts.
The ruling only applied to schools that received federal funding, which at the time was limited to local public schools. Schools that were privately funded remained segregated by race. Brown VI Nor did it apply to colleges and universities, which fell under Brown X But S…S…S… Still the decision of Brown v Board of Education is seen as one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in history because of its impact on education reform across the United States.
Brown v. Board of Education was set on ending school segregation in the United States. This ruling not only made Brown “the first major step toward ending legal segregation” (Wolters 34), but Brown also impacted many facets of American society aside from education, including politics, religion, and race relations. Brown began a series of new rulings that attempted to end segregation among other things as well.
Before Brown v. Board of Education, there were no federal laws preventing state-sponsored segregation or even any Supreme Court cases that addressed desegregation at all. Brown v. Board of Education broke this barrier by ruling against school segregation which led to new desegregating rulings throughout the 1950s and 1960s although it would take years for some of Brown’s implications to be fully realized.
The Brown case was initiated by the Topeka chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The group represented several black parents in Brown v. Board of Education who were against segregation, arguing that “black children had a right to share facilities with white children equally.”(Brown 52) This led to many southern states fighting over desegregation.
Brown v. Board of Education began when Linda Brown went to an elementary school closer to her home than the all-white school which she was legally mandated to attend. Brown’s father talked with principal at her school, but still no agreement was made so he took his daughter’s case before the Supreme Court in 1951. Brown v. Board of Education was in fact Brown’s father’s third attempt to sue over the segregation issue, but Brown v. Board of Education would be what finally brought this case into the spotlight.
On May 17, 1954 “the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional.” (Brown) This unanimous decision made Brown one of the most significant Supreme Court cases of all time because it officially stated that “separate but equal” education was not fair and did not work. Brown v. Board of Education marked a turning point in American history, ending decades of Jim Crow Laws and enforcing a new era of civil rights for African Americans throughout America.
In total there were five separate cases consolidated together and argued as Brown v. Board of Education including Brown from Topeka, Brown from Delaware, Briggs from Baltimore, Davis from Prince Edward County (Virginia), and Bolling from Washington D.C. The Brown case was first headed by Charles H. Houston who began working on this case in 1936 with a group of blacks parents that led into the Brown case being filed in 1951 against the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas for not allowing black children to attend white schools there.
Brown’s attorneys had made clear their argument which relied on sociological studies as well as data collected by psychologists on black children as they were young adults instead of just using only adult perspectives when studying them concerning segregation set-ups since those wouldn’t have necessarily been able to express themselves fully. Brown’s case was focused on the psychological damage being placed upon black children based upon segregation which included “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” (Oyez).