Full Case Name:Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
Short Case Name: Brown v. Board of Education
In the 1950s, racial segregation in public schools was a widespread practice all around the United States most notably in southern states. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case where the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Oliver Brown, a father from Topeka, Kansas, sued the Board of Education for denying his daughter admission to an all-white School close to their home and instead requiring her to take a bus to a black-only school a significant distance away (Kluger, 2004).
The case seeks to establish whether or not racial segregation of public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Holding and Rule
The Supreme Court decided that 'separate educational facilities are inherently unequal', concluding unanimously that racial segregation was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954). The court opined that even if segregated black and white schools were of equal quality in facilities and teachers, segregation is still inherently unequal for the impact it had on black children. The decision effectively overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson 1896 ruling that endorsed the legality of 'separate but equal' facilities for white and black Americans (Newby et al., 2012).
The court overturned the Kansas Supreme Court's earlier ruling and remanded the case to the federal district court for implementation of its decision. It made clear that public schools must immediately make a transition towards desegregation, which laid down the foundation for transformation of social and cultural values in America with regard to race (Patterson, 2001).
- Kluger, R., 2004. Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality. Comprehensive edn. New York: Vintage Books.
- Newby, B.H., Brian, R.B. and Buel Jr., S.F., 2012. More than Brown: The Legal, Global and National Implications. In: D.J. Armor and C.A. Rossell, eds. Court-Ordered Busing: Scientific and Policy Assessments. New York: Routledge, pp. 31-39.
- Patterson, J., 2001. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. New York: Oxford University Press.
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