Brown vs. Board of Education

Photo by Granger/REX/Shutterstock (8745045a) Segregation Headline, 1954. Front Page Of The New York Times, 18 May 1954, Announcing The Supreme Court Decision In The Brown V. Board Of Education School Segregation Case. Segregation Headline, 1954.

Sixty years before the Brown case, racial relations in the United States of America were ruled by segregation. This policy was validated in 1896 by the Supreme Court of United States of America in the decision of the case “Plessy v. Ferguson”. The decision narrated that providing the separate facilities to the distinct races were equal, segregation did not disrespect the Fourteenth Amendment.

Oliver Brown was a low-income welder who lived in the neighbourhood of a racially mixed town of Topeka, Kansas. Oliver had three daughters. Every school day one of his daughters, Linda Brown, used to take the school bus to the school assigned for black children. The school was about one mile away from her home. In 1950, Oliver Brown despite being defiant to state law and rules of local segregation, tried to admit her daughter Linda to the summer school of whites because it was nearer to home. When the school administration refused to give admission to his daughter, Brown took his case to the “National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People” (NAACP), and the case of “Brown v. Board of Education” was born. In deciding the case of Brown in 1954, the Court surprisingly rejected the theory of separate but equal. That final decision of the attorney read:

“Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does. . . . We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.”

Decision of this case altered the constitutional outline of United States of America in two essential aspects. First, after this case the states lost its the power to use race as a benchmark of discrimination. Secondly, the government was obligated to comply with strict regulations against the discriminatory activities of local or state governments, schools, employers, and others sectors.

The District of Columbia along with some other districts began to respond to the decision instantly. However, the states of the extreme South responded differently with a wisely crafted approach commonly known as the “massive resistance.” The politicians of the South stood together to claim that the verdicts of the Supreme Court were not effective. The governing bodies of these states ordered the schools to maintain the segregated schools. Majority of the tactics of the “massive resistance” were challenged in the country’s federal courts and deemed as unlawful. Ten years after the decision of “Brown vs. Board of Education”, less than 1 percent of black kids in the extreme South were going to the schools with white kids. These years of frustration made it clear that a formal court judgement alone was not enough. The aim of “equal protection” would require optimistic action by the Congress and the governmental agencies. However, the case of “Brown vs. Board of Education” gave rise to many cases whose decisions levelled the road to the equal right for blacks and whites.

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