Brown vs. Board of Education: Its Impact on Education and Subsequent Civil Rights Laws

The Brown vs. Board of Education Decision:
Its impact on education and subsequent civil rights laws
Karen Steward
HIS 303
October 30, 2010

1. Slavery and the Civil War
a. Plessy v. Ferguson
b. Jim Crow Laws
c. Civil War Amendments
d. Charles Houston
e. Test cases
f. Brown v. Board Decision
3. Civil Rights
g. Civil Rights Act of 1964
h. Affirmative Action
4. Conclusion

Before the 1950’s the City of Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, Georgia was known for its Klu Klux Klan rallies; its all white, pristine middle-class neighborhoods; and its superb schools. The unrelenting Civil Rights Movement entered into the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s, leading to the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954). Although it has been argued that Brown failed to institute actual societal change, it still is considered to be a landmark decision from a legal perspective. Today’s public schools in DeKalb County’s Stone Mountain area are integrated with scores of minority faces of African Americans and Hispanics students, and a handful of white students. While the historic decision of Brown v. Board of Education repealed America’s “separate but equal doctrine”, segregation still exists in our public schools. This is a look at the history of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, how it impacts public schools today, and its effect on other Civil Rights laws. The first Africans were brought to the Americas by ships docked at port in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. These Africans were not invited with open arms to live as free settlers, but as involuntary servitudes, subordinate captives -- slaves. They worked strenuously for their White owners, who considered themselves superior to Africans, without much benefit. Racism is not just the belief that one race is superior to others, but the act of negatively identifying individuals based on the color of their skin. Attributing race to individual character has proven to have negative implications that are difficult to mend. America was divided on whether to end slavery or make it a way of life for the country. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was an agreement entered into between the Congressmen of pro-slavery and slavery states, which allowed Missouri to enter into the Union as a slave state and, in order to balance the slave and free states; Maine was carved out of Massachusetts and entered the Union as a free state. (O'Connor & Sabato, 2009) This agreement ignited the events that led up to the infamous Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), which ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional, that slaves were not U.S. citizens, and that slaves could not bring suits in federal court. (O'Connor & Sabato, 2009) These instances, together with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (which provided that the popular vote would be used to determine if a state in the new territory would be a slave state or a free state) led to the Civil War in America which lasted from 1861 to 1868. (Weider History Group, 2010) The Civil War was not fought just to end slavery in America; it was the culmination of four decades of intense conflict and deep-seated economic, social and political differences between the North and the South. Well known author and historian Charles Adams, writes in his book, For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization that “the Civil War was little more than an attack by the North on the South to protect a tax base and capitalist gain.” According to Adams, the North, wanted more than anything to raise taxes both to support a public works agenda and to protect Northern goods from competition with imports purchased by Southern land owners to support the cotton industry. (Adams, 1993) Slavery was the side dish of the economic meal served by...
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