Free «Brown vs. Board of Education» Essay Sample


The Brown vs. Board of Education landmark case is one of Americas’ highlights in judicial history and fight for political and constitutional rights equality in the nation. According to Martin (1998), the separation of public learning institutions and other facilities based exclusively on race by making a declaration that segregation of races is discriminatory and violate the 14th amendment to the constitution of the United States, which ascertained equal protection of all citizens by the laws (xii). Basically, the paper aims at discussing and analyzing the events that transpired in the Brown vs. Board of education case. The discussion is based on the Supreme Court Case, the courts, and the outcome of the case. The Brown vs. Board of Education case still reverberates in the Unites States and is held up as a landmark in educational and judicial reform. The race-based isolation of students into “separate but equal” civic schools goes against The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and thus unconstitutional.


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Books and peer reviewed journals will be used intensely in the study, discussion, and analysis of the Brown vs. Board of Education case. The case has remained in America’s history books especially in African-American history.

Literature Review

In the early 1950’s racial segregation in civic schools was mainly the convention across the United States. Despite the fact that all schools in a given area were perceived and thought to be equal, most of the black schools were much less as compared to those of their white equivalents. In Topeka, Kansas which is a Midwest town, a young girl called Linda Brown had to travel to school by bus five miles way on a daily basis whereas a public school was just bout four blocks away from her home. The school had free admission positions and the little girl had met all the rations to join but Linda Brown happened. Blacks were not allowed to join and attend same schools as white children (Dudley 1994, p. 8).

The NAACP branch in Topeka gladly assisted Mr. Brown in challenging the discriminatory law. During the early 1892, the Plessy vs. Ferguson doctrine had laid down the legal model for the “separate but equal” concept which had long been applied in Southern states schools. In deed, the schools were separate since the Black students parents in other several states such as Delaware, South Carolina, and Virginia were challenging the doctrine of “separate but equal” during the time when Oliver Brown visited Topeka NAACP for assistance. In line with Dudley (1994), during the 1951 summer, Brown’s case hearing was preceded by the United States District Court of Kansas. The solution requested was a restriction to prohibit separation of Topeka public schools. The NAACP argument was that the unfair doctrine implied that Black children were inferior in comparison to the white children hence the education offered couldn’t be equal (p. 9). On the hand, the Education Board claimed that segregation was a life fact in America, and that segregated schools were meant to prepare the children their adult lives in reality. Moreover, the Board of Education gave examples of educated and successful African-Americans Such as Booker T. Washington, Fredrick Douglass, and George Washington who had studied in segregated schools (Martin 1998, p. 16).
In line with Dudley (1994) during the case ruling, the judges indicated that “colored children …” suffered “a negative effects” from separation of the learning institutions. Nevertheless, the judges also believed that the legal model laid down by the Plessy vs. Ferguson case blocked them from issuing the injunction that had been requested, and the case was ruled in Topeka Education Board favour (p. 9). In the 1951 fall, the Brown vs. Board of Education the case was appealed to the U.S Supreme Court. Additionally, the case was combined with other cases from S. Carolina, Delaware, and Virginia. For along time, the Supreme Court tossed the cases around. In 1951, the case was first heard though no ruling was made. In line with this, the case discussed several interpretations of the 14th amendment, and whether there was a violation by the Plessy vs. Ferguson case. In December 1953, the case was heard for the second time, and first African-American Supreme Court judge Thurgood Marshall argued for NAACP and Brown.

At last, on 17th May, 1954, the Unite States Supreme Court made its ruling: "…Does separation of children in public learning institutions exclusively based on race, even if there may be equality of physical facilities, deny the minority group children of education opportunities that are equal? We believe so…hence, we draw the conclusion that the “separate but equal” doctrine has no place in the public education field” (Dudley1994, p. 10).Surprisingly, segregationists across the South came out to prevent implementation of the court’s ruling following the courts declaration of the doctrine as unconstitutional. However, in some states state laws were passed to advocate segregation, which consequently had to be challenged by the federal government in court, thus delaying the admission of Black children to White schools. Needless to say, several white segregationists created councils that were against desegregation. In reference to Lazear (2001) the most dramatic scene around learning institutions desegregation took place in 1957, in Little Rock, Arkansas, during which mobs shouted threats at ten Black students in high school and unsuccessfully prevented them from entering their new school. Actually, President Eisenhower resolved to call the National Guard which offered protection to the Black students to go in (p.779). Obviously desegregation of schools was not an overnight activity, but the Brown vs. Education Board challenge to the doctrine was the necessary step needed to make it happen. Linda Brown had moved to join middle school by the time the Supreme Court had made its ruling in 1954.


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The Brown vs. Board of Education case is considered as the major 20th civil rights court case which is noteworthy due to the standards that it set and the expectancy that it gave to Black-Americans all over the states.  Accordance with Martin (1998) the decision by the Supreme Court regarding Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas has constantly been credited with a lot of significance. For a number of cases, it signalled the beginning of the movement on civic rights of the 1950s and 1960s, moreover, it acts as a symbol of the fall of segregation (p. 23). Even in the decisions annotation, even though, the court brought up issues as regarding the level of rights it had and the means by which to carry on  toward achieving conventionality. In the early 20th century, the states in the South had a lawful explanation for demanding Black students to join segregated learning institutions.

Nevertheless, the 1896 verdict by the Supreme Court concerning Plessey vs. Ferguson upheld isolated bulldoze vehicle seating in Louisiana based on the fact that equal but isolated seating didn’t violate the rights of the Black travellers to equal reinforcement under the 14th Amendment. For almost five years, this near-unanimous ruling offered as the lawful grounds for segregation of culture in almost all southern life regions, mutually with education. Despite the fact that segregated learning institutions in the South, while isolated, were obviously unequal, as acknowledged by photographs taken in S. Carolina during the 1930s (Martin 1998, p. 32). The White children attended learning institutions in stone and block construction, whereas black students were demoted to overcrowded, heated shacks through inadequate libraries, inexperienced teacher, and crude furniture. In 1930, the white schools in S. Carolina were ten times recognized as compared to black schools.

The results of the Brown vs. Board of Education case served as a landmark for the fact that it overturned the lawful policies acknowledged by the Plessy vs. Ferguson verdict that justify the separate but equal practices. In the Plessy verdict, the fourteenth Amendment was inferred in a means that equality in the law could be achieved via isolated amenities. However, the laws of Jim Crow were approved through out the South and they acknowledged segregated facilities for Whites and Blacks in everything from fountains of drinking to witness stands in courtroom, learning institutions to restrooms. For several years, during the early years of the 20th century the Civil Rights association allowed the “separate but equal” strategy in its major effort for admission into the social order. The association fought in various societies for equal school services and teachers pay. Moreover, it fought for equal recreation facilities, libraries, and health services (Lazear 2001, p. 782).

In reference to Martin (1998) after the Brown decision, great efforts were made to commence integration. NAACP chapters provided confidence to the parents of the Black children to send them to White schools, and initially there were reprisals against such parents. Additionally, there had been three bunch demonstrations on Washington regarding the school matter (p.32). Nonetheless, the legal resist for incorporated schools pulled on years later as a result of the Brown decision. In such districts, there were least threats, compliance, and hostility used to carry on the White school. Chief Justice Warren’s ruling in 1954 was a sigh of relieved for the Black community. The court ruling made it clear that all students had aright to equal treatment in terms of education and other amenities, and thus the “separate but equal doctrine was declared unconstitutional”. This decision brought a new down for the black people since their children were able to attend schools meant for the white. The fight was long additionally rigid, but at long last development came.

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Up-to-date, persistence of hard work continues across the states to understand the NAACP vision and families originally connected to the Brown case. In general, the 17th May 1954 Supreme Court testimonial decision distorted the biased, economic and community structure of the United States. Moreover, the Brown vs. Board of Education case aided in revolutionizing America eternally. The decision by the Chief Justice Earl Warren brought new freedom to the plaintiffs and the entire black community who had been deprived of equal protection as per the law in the 14th Amendment. The Brown vs. Board of Education outcome was received by the blacks successfully from corner to corner of the nation, and several Border States and the Columbia District took quick measures to join together their school system. Although, the Deep South states utilized the steady completion decision, introduced one year after the first verdict, as a supposed reason for years of impudence and hold-up.

However, the court left the responsibility of implementing the decision to the states and the local authorities, without setting strict time limits for implementation and instead issued the general sensible and punctual start principle stating that integration   must take place with all thought-out speed. In relation to U. S. Supreme Court (1998) the pupil-placement law was one of the most admired approach which offered the local school institution the benefit of indiscriminately placing students in schools of their choice, so long as they conserved that the position was for educational, mental, or any other reasons apart from race.  Additional means of circumventing the desegregation ruling included: offering tuition for students who decided to join isolated private schools or closing down schools faced with integration instructions (p. 2).

Accordance to Lazear (2001), in 1960, only a sixth of one percent of black students in the south attended integrated schools. This form had risen to two percent by 1964, although it lagged back under one percent for two years in three of Deep South states (p.777). Nevertheless, the legislation of the federal civil rights and federal implementation of the desegregation strategy, the 1960s in the end saw remarkable development in southern integration: the number of blacks attending desegregated schools rose greatly up to 1970. In the following year, the Supreme Court enabled constituency courts to utilize bussing for the desegregation of school systems. Although this gauge was weakened by decisions made later excusing suburban districts from participating in desegregation of city schools through bussing. Representatively, the Brown and Board of Education case supplied optimism and motivation to people who were concerned with the ethnic parity in the U.S, both during the 1950s and 1960s Civil rights Movement in the subsequent years. About forty years after Brown vs. Board of education of Topeka legitimately integrated public schools, the black youths made substantial development in upper grade school achievement, in better college registration and test scores, in achieving college degrees and careers (U. S. Supreme Court 1998, p. 5).


The Brown vs. Board of Education case proceeding is very significant in bringing justice to the black society in terms of quality education like their counterparts the white community. The American history clearly indicated that in 1951, about thirteen black families in Kansa rebelled against the school authority for exercising the old fashioned banned segregation law which existed in 1879. Mr. Brown protested against the management of a white school that had failed to admit his daughter because she was black and not allowed in such schools. However, the authorities of the white schools wanted to dispose of the privileges and rights of the black students. 

After careful examination, the Supreme Court declared its ruling in favour of the plaintiff Mr. Brown who wanted the system of racial isolation to be wiped-out from the department of education. The court ruled out that the school authority or any other educational centre doesn’t have right to practice racial isolation and colour difference in providing training and educational programs to the students. Surprisingly, the white community was not determined to do way with the segregation law. Apparently, the whites practised segregation and injustice against the black community privately. Eventually, the segregation became usual after the American President, Eisenhower had chosen to send troops to Arkansas so as to control the situation. However, the race-based isolation of students into “separate but equal” civic schools was against The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and unconstitutional, thus its ban minimised racial discrimination.


Isolation of students in the civic schools exclusively on racial basis denies black children the laws equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, though the physical amenities and others may be equal. Every student has the right to receive education in public schools under equal terms. The questions on hand in these cases ought to be determined but not on the basis of existing conditions following the adoption of the 14th Amendment, though in the limelight of public education light in the current American life. Unquestionably, the “separate but equal” policy adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson case which was applicable in transportation has no relation with the public education field.

 Isolating black children from the white children simply because of their race creates a feeling of inferiority regarding their status in the society that may negatively affect their minds. The impact of isolation is greater when it has the laws sanction. A feeling of inferiority definitely affects a child’s motivation to learn. Isolation with the consent to law tends to obstruct the mental and educational development of black children and denies them certain benefits that they would get if enrolled in desegregated schools. No matter what may have been the degree of psychological know-how at Plessy vs. Ferguson time, this finding is sufficiently supported by contemporary authority and any language in contrast to the Plessy vs. Ferguson doctrine should be rejected.

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