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Oliver Brown and 12 other plaintiffs (names undisclosed) brought suit against the Board of Education with the help of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
During this time in history segregation existed in some facets of our educational system. In the state of Kansas, to be more precise Topeka, segregation was dominant among elementary schools.
A group consisting of Oliver Brown and 12 other parents (20 children involved) wanted equal educational rights and do away with segregation among the school system. Each person was to look for enrollment dates at the “white” schools in their neighborhood and take their children to be admitted. The all white school refused to enroll them because of their race. The families then reported to the NAACP, who they have recruited to help in this legal matter. The Board of Education was in direct violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which “guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law”, giving cause to file a class action suit.
Oliver Brown was designated as the leader of the group because during this time men were dominant in society, having more power than women. On February 28, 1951, the NAACP filed their case against The Board of Education, naming it Oliver L. Brown et. al. Vs. The Board of Education of Topeka (KS). The District court ruled against Brown, resulting in an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
When this case made it to the Supreme Court, it was combined with other “like” cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. These combined cases became known as Oliver L. Brown, et. at. Vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, et. al.
On May 17, 1954 at 12:52 p.m. the United States Supreme Court decided unanimously that The Board of Education acted unconstitutionally and that they violated the 14th Amendment by separated children if for no other reason than for their race.
In the end, not only did the African Americans receive a victory in this aspect of the civil rights movement; they also received the memory of this victory in the form of a historical site.
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