Brown V. Board Of Education

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Last summer, my then twelve year old son was asked to participate in the National Junior Leaders Conference in Washington, DC. So, I packed our stuff and we headed for our nation's capital. While there, we visited the Supreme Court and my son, never having been there before, was simply awed. A short time later, we went to the Library of Congress. At the time (I don't know whether or not it's still there), there was a display -- three or four rooms big – dedicated to the Supreme Court case Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. While the case was something that Nicholas (my son) and I had talked about on a few occasions, it was interesting to watch him as he navigated through the rooms that had photographs, court documents, newspaper articles, and other memorabilia of the case and the people involved with it. About thirty minutes into our time there, he started to cry softly, but he continued making his way through the display. He went to every single display in those several rooms; he didn't want to leave until he had seen everything and read everything. When we finally left (almost four hours after we arrived), he said to me, "It's disgraceful the way our country treated black people; there was no honor in any of it." I have chosen Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas as one of the most divisive Supreme Court cases. The case started with a third-grader named Linda Brown. She was a black girl who lived just seen blocks away from an elementary school for white children. Despite living so close to that particular school, Linda had to walk more than a mile, and through a dangerous railroad switchyard, to get to the black elementary school in which she was enrolled. Oliver Brown, Linda's father tried to get Linda switched to the white school, but the principal of that school refuse to enroll her. After being told that his daughter could not attend the school that was closer to their home and that would be safer for Linda to get to and from, Mr. Brown went to the NAACP for help, and as it turned out, the NAACP had been looking for a case with strong enough merits that it could challenge the issue of segregation in pubic schools. The NAACP found other parents to join the suit and it then filed an injunction seeking to end segregation in the public schools in Kansas (Knappman, 1994, pg 466).

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