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Brown versus Board of Education


I. Parties and the points at issue

II. The constitutional questions raised by the case

III. Summary of the court decision

IV. Evaluation of the decision’s constitutional significance

V. The aftermath of the courts decision

Linda Brown was traveling over an hour to school, in which; she had

to walk through a dangerous railroad switching facility to go to the down-at-

the-heels school for blacks. The child was only in the third grade and it was

too far for a child to go to a school. Her father Oliver tried to enroll her in a

school close by. They wouldn’t accept her because of being the wrong race.

So her father decided to sue the board of education of Topeka, KS because

of the issue of their race. He did have the aid of the NAACP when he went

to sue the school board. Mainly segregation was the issue at hand and back

in the 1950’s it was everywhere. Even though, “in four cases originating in

as many states, Negro children had been denied admissions to public

schools attended by white children.” ( Christman, Henry M. pg. 114) “In

Kansas, plaintiffs were Negro children of elementary-school age who were

refused admission to Topeka elementary schools under the provisions of a

Kansas Statute permitting cities of more than fifteen thousand population to

maintain separate school facilities for Negroes and whites.” (Christman,

Henry M. pg. 114-115) It was basically that the whites didn’t want the

blacks to be in their schools because of their race which is ridiculous. All the

children wanted was the same education as the white children, so that they

could go to a school that had more resources available to them. The junior

high and senior high school weren’t segregated. “Brown kick-started the

civil rights movement, and began a slow but steady process of dismantling

legal segregation.” (

There were several constitutional questions raised in this case. If

“the history of the Fourteenth Amendment is inconclusive as to its intended

effect on public education.” (http://www.

“Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education

in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be available

to all equal terms. Segregation of children in public schools solely on the

basis of race deprives children of the minority group of equal educational

opportunities, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible”

factors may be equal. The “separate but equal” doctrine adopted in Plessy

v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, has no place in the field of education.”

( The blacks did get legal

representative and they also got aid of the courts to obtain admission to

non-segregated schools in their community. Even though, it was on a non-

segregated basis, they weren’t allowed to attend the school because of the

law was that segregation was legal. The “separate but equal” doctrine, was

an equal treatment, but when it came to the blacks that they were provided

facilities. All facilities were separated. All of the questions were answered

in this hearing and stated to be unconstitutional.

The courts decision was that segregation had a detrimental effect on

the colored children. The impact of the law, as for policy that the

segregation which reflects as to the Negro group. It had a tendency to

retard the education and mental development of Negro children. “ The

Supreme Court announced its unanimous decision on May 17, 1954. It held

that school segregation violated the Equal Protection and Due Process

clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The following year the Court

ordered desegregation “with all deliberate speed.”

( After the case was

argued on December 9, 1952 and they reargued on December 8,1953, they

finally made a decision on this case as to segregation as to be


The overall evaluation of the decision’s constitutional significance,

was that the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas did indeed violate the

Fourteenth Amendment. That they shouldn’t segregate a school because of

ones race. That the African-Americans weren’t treated fairly and equally.

That all schools should be integrated. This decision led to a great deal other

litigation in which equal protection clause that was referenced, benefiting

women and other groups of people who felt that they were denied equal


The aftermath of the decision, some states took a long time to

integrate their schools because they didn’t want to have Negroesin their

schools. In Prince Edward County, VA done was closed their schools so that

they didn’t have to fund integrated schools. In which that school stayed

closed from 1959 thru 1964, which left a lot of students without any

education. Looking at that, I think that it was utterly ridiculous because of

closing a school because they didn’t want black in their schools, which made

the other children suffer from lack of education. It makes you think what

was wrong with their heads, to come up with that reasoning. In by closing

the school, made it look like that people didn’t really care about their

children’s education. But in the long run other schools, colleges, and places

of business finally desegregated, which allowed the blacks to do anything

that a white person could do. This caused blacks to be hired without any

discrimination. Slowly every state was integrating their schools. After this
case was decided on, it helped a lot of people, not only the blacks, but all



Christman, Henry M. The Public Papers of Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1968.

Pages 114-115.

Library of Congress

National Center Organization

New York Times