Brown v. Board of Education
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Brown v. Board of Education
The Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education dates back to 1954, the case was centered on the Fourteenth Amendment and challenged the segregation of schools solely on the basis of race. The Brown case was not the only case of its time involving school segregation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was leading the push to desegregate public schools in the United States (Gold, 2005). Brown v. Board of Education was a consolidation of four cases that had made their way through the court system.
It was 1950 and Linda brown was just seven years old, she lived in Topeka, Kansas and was African American descent (she was black). Each mourning Linda traveled 21 blocks and crossed through a dangerous railroad yard to get to school. Her journey to school took an hour and twenty minutes. White children who lived in the same neighborhood only traveled 7 blocks in a considerably less amount of time (Gold, 2005). Linda’s father Oliver filed a lawsuit against the Topeka Board of Education arguing that he wanted the same conditions for his daughter (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 2009). The case was heard by three judges in Federal District Court, and they ruled against the plaintiffs, the case went to Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the U.S Supreme Court (Topeka, Kansas: Segregation in the Heartland).
The second case was Gebhart v. Belton was similar to the Topeka case, a Delaware school bus with all white students would pass Sarah Bulah’s home, so she asked the schools officials to let her daughter ride on the bus. When School officials turned down her request, Sarah went to the state board of education. Sarah was told that black students were not allowed to ride on the bus with whites (Gold, 2005). The case went to the State Court, which ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but neither side was happy with the ruling. The case eventually went to the State Supreme Court and then to the U.S Supreme Court (Smithsonian National Museum of American history ).
The third case was Briggs v. Elliot, in Clarendon County, South Carolina. The schools for black children were run down shacks and had no money for supplies and little money to pay teachers. Twenty black parents asked the school board to provide buses for students the same as they did for the white students. The parents were denied, the school board stated that black parents didn’t contribute enough tax revenue and they shouldn’t expect the white parents to pay (Gold, 2005). The case was filed in South Carolina in 1950, a panel of three judges ruled that schools must be equalized but don’t have to be integrated. Judge Walter Warring wrote a dissenting opinion stating “segregation is per se inequality” (Waring), meaning that separate is not equal.
The fourth case was Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia. The state of Virginia at the time provided schools for blacks only through the eighth grade; therefore most high schools were funded through private money. Morton high school was rundown and overcrowded. The students were frustrated with the lack of action from the school board so they walked out and staged a march to the homes of school board members in order to protest poor conditions (Gold, 2005). The case was heard in the Federal District Court where they ruled against the plaintiffs, it then went to Circuit Courts of Appeals and eventually to the U.S Supreme Court (Black students on Strike! Farmville, Virginia ).
As each case went through the court system the NAACP gathered the cases and submitted them together as Brown v. Board of education on the writ of certiorari, on appeal to the U.S Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall was chief counsel at the time for the NAACP and planned the strategy to argue the case. Constitutional Issue
References: Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)
Gold, S. D. (2005). Brown v. Board of Education: Seperate but Equal? Tarrytown: Benchmark Books.
Guey Heung Lee v. Johnson, 404 U.S. 1215 (1971)
Smithsonian National Museum of American history . (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2012, from Separate is not equal: http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/4-five/delaware-1.html
Topeka, Kansas: Segregation in the Heartland
Waring, J. J. (n.d.). The Leadership Conference on Civil and human Rights. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from Briggs v. Elliot South Carolina: http://www.civilrights.org/education/brown/briggs.html
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