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Brown vs. Board of Education

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Brown vs. Board of Education
Elizabeth McclendonCivics 5th PeriodHill9/6/12
Brown V. Board of Education Brown V. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. In 1950, 17 states and the District of Columbia still had laws that required segregated schools. At this time, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was working to end segregation in public schools by bringing cases to court. By 1952, the NAACP had several cases being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the justices could not reach a decision and scheduled to hear them again in 1953.[1] In 1951, Topeka, Kansas had eighteen schools for white students and four for African American students. Linda Brown, and African American third grader had to walk one mile through a railroad switch yard to get to her black elementary school even though a white elementary school was only seven blocks away. Her father tried to enroll her in the white elementary school, but the principal refused. Her parents and twelve other parents went to District Court in Kansas with the help of the NAACP.[2] They hoped the school district would change its policy of racial segregation. The District Court ruled against the NAACP saying that both schools were equal. At that time “separate but equal” was legal. The NAACP decided to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court. Their case was combined with other cases that challenged school segregation in the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware.[3] On May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous ruling. State-sanctioned segregationof public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment and was therefore unconstitutional. This historic decision marked the end to the “separate but equal” precedent set by the Supreme Court nearly 60 years earlier in Plessy V. Ferguson and served as a catalyst for the expanding civil rights movement during the decade of the 1950's.[4]
This landmark Court ruling was the first of many in the civil rights struggle of the 1950's and '60's which would eventually guarantee equal rights for all races.

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[ 1 ]. Diane L. Good, Brown V. Board of Education (New York: Scholastic, Inc. 2004) 19-21
[ 2 ]. Lisa Cozzens, “Brown V. Board of Education”
[ 3 ]. Herb Boyd, We Shall Overcome (Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks Inc. 2004) 39,40
[ 4 ]. US. National Archives and Records Administration, “Brown V. Board of Education (1954) (ourdocuments.gov.php?doc=87

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