This was case number 347 of 1954 in the United States Supreme Court. The decision of the court was a landmark ruling of the Supreme Court whereby the court made a ruling that the American state laws which established racial discrimination in the public schools were unconstitutional even if the schools were equal regarding their quality. The ruling was made in May 1954 unanimously by 9-0 judges. The ruling stated that separating the educational facilities was unequal and therefore was in violation of the constitution on the Equal Protection Clause. This form of protection is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, the four-page decision did not give an elaborative plan on how the racial segregation would be ended in the public schools and the second decision of the court of 1955 under case number 349 of the United States Supreme Court only gave orders that states should immediately desegregate with immediate speed (Conaway 49). However, there was reluctance on the implementation.
The origin of the case was the lawsuit, by the family of Black Americans in Kansas, popularly known as the Brown family. This was after their local public school refused to admit their daughter because it was exclusively for the whites. This forced the family to take their daughter to a school for blacks which was far away from their home hence costing them extra money. Several black families applied and were enjoined in the lawsuit. Later the Supreme Court combined all similar cases that had been filed within the United States. The case had begun from the lower courts whereby the district court ruled in support of the school board which was based on the ruling made in 1896 by the Supreme Court in the case of Ferguson versus Plessy where the court made a ruling that racial segregation was not a violation of the 14th amendment on Equal Protection (Conaway 52). The judges argued that if the facilities were equal but separate, then there was no form of violation to the constitution after the ruling Brown appealed to the Supreme Court which agreed to hear the appeal.
The decision on the Brown case was an overrule of the ruling which was made during the Ferguson and Plessy case because the court made a declaration that the separate but equal was an unconstitutional notion which violated the constitution. The ruling paved the way for the integration of both the Blacks and the whites in the country. The ruling also has a victory for the Civil Rights Movements as well as the future impacts of cases to be litigated. The racial segregation was predominantly life on the Southern part of the United States, and when the region received the news of the ruling of the court, they were not happy (Hinton 74). Therefore, they were stubborn and angry.
Since the government on the southern part was not happy, it staged a massive resistance under the leadership of the senator of Virginia, Harry Byrd. They never wanted to de-segregate public schools. Four years after the ruling was made, a case was filed between Cooper versus Aaron and the court reaffirmed their earlier decision made earlier in the case of Brown and further said that the officials of the state have no powers to nullify the decisions made by the Supreme Court (Klein 45). 60 years before the Brown case was put before the Supreme Court judges there was rampant racial segregation in the United States. The Policy had initially been sanctioned in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court in the case Between Ferguson and Plessy. The plaintiff in the case of Brown had claimed that they were providing equal but separate facilities in the public schools; therefore there was no discrimination taking place. Though this was their arguments, the reality on the ground showed that the Black Americans were given accommodations which were inferior as well as being treated as lesser human beings. In the Public schools, racial segregation was rampant in 17 states though it was prohibited in the other 16 states. Brown was influenced to litigate the states and the local governments after reading the 1950 UNESCO statement which had been signed by several international organizations and scholars (Klein 49).The ruling of the Supreme Court declared null and voided the attempts that were previously made by the white supremacists to justify racism scientifically. The decision of the court was significantly influenced by Gunnar Myrdal work who was an educational psychologist. (Klein 50).He conducted a study to find out how racism had penetrated the American society and the effects it had on the affected school going children more especially the Black Children.
The Topeka Education Board under the 1870 laws that were enacted by Kansas had separate elementary schools. The laws allowed for separate elementary schools for the Black and white children. The plaintiff, Mr, Brown was a welder, a parent and an assistant pastor in a church which was in the neighborhood which was predominantly African American (Hinton 75). He got convicted of filing the lawsuit by a childhood friend who was called Scott as well her daughter who was in grade six who was forced to walk for a long distance to go to school yet there was a school near the bear (Klein 53). The parent, as well as other parents, tried to enroll their children to the neighboring schools but they were denied that opportunity and referred to the segregated schools merely because they were black. Though several parents were enjoined in filing the suit, they decided to have a man at the head of the litigation so that it would have the image that they wanted it to have. Three were 13 more plaintiffs who were enjoined in the suit. The Supreme Court decision had an impact on future cases regarding segregation. Since the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, its decisions were binding, and the future cases on racial segregation more especially in public schools were determined based on the unanimous decision that was made by the Supreme Court judges in 1954 (Hinton 75). There was no judge with a dissenting opinion.
In its ruling, the court also categorically stated that it was totally difficult to use historical information based on the original scope of the application of the 14th amendment. They argued that it would not be possible because there had occurred several governmental and societal changes. The judges stated in 1968 when the adoption of the amendment was done; the public schools were not common more especially on the southern parts of the country. They further explained that during that time most white families took their children to private schools because they could afford it (Hinton 76). During that time the education for the Black Americans never existed because it was legally prohibited. This was a landmark ruling because the previous courts had upheld the decision of the education board. Consequently, after the ruling, the other rulings had to be made about this ruling.
Conaway, Judith. Brown V. Board of Education: The Case for Integration. Minneapolis, Minn: Compass Point Books, 2006. Print.
Hinton, KaaVonia. Brown V. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, 1954. , 2010. Internet resource.
Klein, Rebecca T. School Integration: Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing Group, 2014. Internet resource
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