The Supreme Court and Personal Civil Rights

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I. "Our constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” – Justice John Harlan, in his dissenting opinion in the case Plessy v. Ferguson. (History of Brown v. Board of Education) The US Supreme Court has evolved to promote new personal civil rights for African-Americans, ultimately creating a more racially equal society. II. The first way that the Supreme Court has promoted personal civil rights is its decisions relating to school segregation. a. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court consistently upheld the rights of African-American students who faced discrimination when pursuing their education. i. In 1950, the Court ruled that universities could not force black students to eat meals separately from white students in McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents. (History of Brown v. Board of Education) ii. In 1954, the Court unanimously ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. (History of Brown v. Board of Education) iii. The Brown decision reversed the “separate but equal” doctrine set forth in a previous 1896 decision, Plessy v. Ferguson. (Law and African Americans: After the Civil War) b. After the Brown decision, a policy emerged in the South known as “massive resistance”, its sole purpose being to delay or reverse school desegregation. (Massive Resistance) i. Led by Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, the massive resistance movement espoused the “Southern Manifesto”, which, in part, insinuated that states had the right to segregate schools. (Massive Resistance) ii. In 1958, Byrd called for Virginia schools to be closed rather than integrated. (Massive Resistance) ... ... middle of paper ... ...s and Native North Americans. Detroit: UXL, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 Nov, 2013. “Loving Decision: 40 Years of Interracial Unions.” Npr.org. Np, 11 June 2007. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. "Massive Resistance." Vahistorical.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013 "Richard Perry LOVING Et Ux., Appellants, v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA." Cornell.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013 “Segregation and Desegregation.” Supreme Court Drama: Cases that Changed American Equal Protection and Civil Rights (Part 2). Detroit: UXL, 2011. Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 Nov. 2013 “Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action Program, June 27, 1979.” DISCovering U.S. History. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Student Resources in Context. Web. 5 Dec, 2013 “The Supreme Court and Civil Rights.” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Np, nd. Web. 03 Dec 2013
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