Court Case Analysis Of Brown V. Board Of Education

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For over half a century leading up to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), racial segregation had become commonplace in United States. This segregation was present not only in the schools, but many other public and private facilities as well. This legal policy and general acceptance of racial roles was upheld by court case Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). This case endorsed the United States Constitutional doctrine of “separate but equal” justifying and permitted the racial segregation of public facilities.

It was believed that “Separate but equal” did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the United States Constitution that guarantees equal protection of all United State’s …show more content…

This lawsuit, which later became more commonly known as Brown v. Board of Education, called for an overturn of the school district’s racial segregation policy. At this time, the Topeka school system operated under the district’s policy endorsed by “separate but equal” as endorsed by Plessy v. Ferguson decided in 1896.

The Topeka NAACP recruited thirteen parents to attempt an overturn of this long-standing policy that, to date, no case was successful overturning. The thirteen plaintiffs were Oliver Brown, Darlene Brown, Lena Carper, Sadie Emmanuel, Marguerite Emerson, Shirley Fleming, Zelma Henderson, Shirley Hodison, Maude Lawton, Alma Lewis, Iona Richardson, Vivian Scales, and Lucinda …show more content…

Although never explicitly stated, it was obvious to many at the time, foreign relations greatly pressured the Supreme Court’s decision. British barrister and parliamentarian Anthony Lester went as far as to write, “Although the Court's opinion in Brown made no reference to these considerations of foreign policy, there is no doubt that they significantly influenced the decision."

As new Chief Justice, Earl Warren, did much to convince the remaining eight judges to rule in favor of Brown and overturn the doctrine “separate but equal” as supported by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Although most justices were convinced upon further discussion, justices Robert H. Jackson, and Stanley Reed were still uneasy. However, their dissents were eventually dropped and on May 17, 1954, it was unanimously decided by the United States Supreme Court to rule in favor of Brown and overturn the long endorsed precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson.

The courts stated: “segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group.”


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