Brown versus The Board of Education

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During the 1950s, the United States was on the brink of eruption. Not literally, of course, but in a sense yes. Though it had been about a century after slavery was abolished, African Americans in the United States were still being treated as second-class citizens. Separate but equal, as outlined in the landmark case Plessy versus Ferguson of 1896, became a standard doctrine in the United States law. This was a defeat for many blacks because not only were the facilities were clearly unequal, but it restored white supremacy in the South. It would be years before any sense of hope would come from another prominent landmark case victory. In the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, members of the Supreme Court believed this decision for “separate but equal” facilities did not violate any laws. For example, Justice B. Brown, known for writing the majority opinion on the case, writes the ruling “neither abridges the privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the equal protection of the laws, within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment”. He goes on to write that the separation does not stamp “the colored race with a badge of inferiority.” Brown versus the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas was perhaps the most renowned cases of its time. The thirteen plaintiffs on behalf on their children filed a class action lawsuit against the district in order for it to reverse its policy of racial segregation. One named plaintiff, Oliver L. Brown, an admired African American member of his community, complained that his young daughter had to walk six blocks to the bus stop to attend her all black school, while the white school was closer. After the victory, The Board of Edu... ... middle of paper ... ... reversed. In the document it said, “The original Constitution does not mention education. Neither does the 14th Amendment nor any other amendment. The debates preceding the submission of the 14th Amendment clearly show that there was no intent that it should affect the system of education maintained by the States.” This is an outlandish argument because when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, schooling was not popular. In fact, it would be many years after 1868 when it was mandatory to attend school. Therefore, the Fourteenth Amendment did not include schools as part of its Equal Protection Clause. African Americans in the United States were wounded. After decades of mistreatment, it was time to fight back. The ruling of the Brown versus The Board of Education, marked the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. It would be years, before any progress would ensue.

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