Brown V. Board of Education

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“To what extent was the case of Brown v. Board of Education effective in the scope of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-60s?”

Table of Contents
A. Plan of Investigation………………………………………………………………………………..….. 3 B. Summary of Evidence………………………………………………………………………………..… 3 C. Evaluation of Sources…………………………………………………………………………….…… 6 D. Analysis…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7 E. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………..…. 9 F. Works Cited…………………………………………………………………………………………... 10

A. Plan of Investigation
The case of Brown v. Board of Education is a crucial event in the history of the United States, but the question that many are attempting to answer is whether or not the case was so influential because of what it actually did accomplish, or what it intended to. In this investigation, I will research the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which preceded this case and was the origin of ‘separated but equal’ which became the basis for segregation. Also, I will briefly discuss the other Jim Crow laws that dominated the South, so that a comparison can be made to the life of African Americans before and after the ruling of the case. Furthermore, I will research the aftermath of this case and other movements for equality. I plan to investigate the works of various historians on this topic, including the works of Richard Kluger and James Tackach. Word Count: 149

B. Summary of Evidence
The conditions before the case of Brown v. Board of Education were very harsh on African Americans. The citizens and governments held a loose interpretation of the Civil War Amendments which were the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. The Jim Crow Era was a time when laws were created to prevent African Americans from integrating with the white people and to make sure that they did not receive the same benefits. Some examples of this are Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Ku Klux Klan, poll taxes and Grandfather Clauses and Southern lawmakers denying the social rights and privileges of black citizens. The decisions of the Supreme Court on cases involving the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and other civil rights cases in the 1800s greatly weakened the power of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and ensure that the Jim Crow Era would continue and strive. The case of Plessy v. Ferguson concerned a piece of Jim Crow legislation that had been enacted in Louisiana in 1890. This case is what created the “separate but equal” doctrine that the Brown case overturned. A man named Homer Plessy, who was 1/8 black and 7/8 white, was considered a Negro under LA law and when he sat in white section of train in New Orleans, he was arrested. Judge John Ferguson “issued penalty required by law”. The Jim Crow laws remained firmly in place and the society became “rigidly segregated”. Linda Carol Brown was an eight-year-old girl whose walk to school each day was very dangerous. The Sumner School in Topeka, Kansas was in her neighborhood, but reserved for whites only. Oliver Brown, her father, joined a group of Topeka’s African American citizens who had been trying to convince the Board of Education to improve the ‘black schools’. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took this case. The NAACP was a group of activists who fought for equality and was created in 1909 by W. E. B Du Bois. Thurgood Marshall was a part of this group and was a successful attorney that had won many cases dealing with equality for African Americans. The court found that the schools were of comparable quality and the NAACP lost that case.

The next big step was for the Supreme Court to hear this case. The NAACP prepared for this case intensely because they had to convince the nine justices that the Plessy v. Ferguson decision was losing its legal and moral standing. The case was presented to the Supreme Court in December of 1952 and the Court deliberated for six months before deciding that they needed more questions to be addressed on June 8, 1953. NAACP...
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