Brown vs. Board of Education is a very important place for all future educators to learn about. It gives you a good idea as to how education was in that time and how difficult it was for some people to even get an education. It gave me a sense of hope that education will always improve and will always be wanted by the people. It also made me appreciate my education a lot more and not take it for granted.
What is Segregation?
According to Dictionary.com, segregation is defined as, “segregation
1550s, “act of segregating,” from L.L. segregationem (nom. segregatio), noun of action from segregare (see segregate). Meaning “state of being segregated” is from 1660s. Specific U.S. sense of “enforced separation of races” is attested from 1883. Segregationist is from 1915.” In the mid 1900’s segregation was a huge problem in the United States. Many people finally stood up for their right against segregation. According to the Fourteenth Amendment segregation was not legal and it was a hard time for both the white and colored population of children. During this time there was a lot of fighting and troubles in the schools.
Oliver L. Brown and Plaintiffs
In 1951 a group of 13 parents on behalf of their 20 kids filed a class action suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Oliver L. Brown was the named plaintiff. The lawyers and other plaintiffs appointed Brown to have his name on the case so that it looked better to the court system to have a man for the official name (“Oliver Brown et al. v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas,”). He was a welder for the Santa Fe Railroad and an assistant Pastor at his local church. Brown had a daughter (Linda) that was a 3rd grader that had to walk 6 blocks to the bus stop then ride another mile to her required school, Monroe Elementary. Whereas, Sumner Elementary was only 7 blocks away from where she lived but it was an all white school. In the fall of 1951 all 13 parents applied for their children to attend the closest school to where they lived and were all denied and directed to the nearest all colored school.
The Fight Against Segregation
The District court ruled in favor of the Board of Education of Topeka while citing the earlier case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that held a state law that the segregated facilities were to be separate but equal for whites and blacks. In the spring of 1953 he Court heard the case but was unable to come to a ultimate decision and was asked to come back to rehear the case in the fall of 1953. They focused mainly on the Fourteenth Amendment and whether or not its Equal Protection Clause prohibited public schools being separated by whites and blacks. The Brown v. Board of Education that was heard in the Supreme court was a total of five combined cases: Brown itself, Briggs v. Elliott (filed in South Carolina), Gebhart v. Belton (filed in Delaware), an Bolling v. Sharpe (filed in Washington D.C.), Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (filed in Virginia). In the Davis case, it began when 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns organized a 450-student walk out at Moton High School. The Gebhart case was the only one to where the court deemed discrimination unlawful when, every other case had lost.
In the end of all the fight and turmoil of Segregation, the Topeka high schools were integrated in 1871 when the Middle Schools integrated in 1941. It took a great while for them to win their rights but all it takes is a couple people to stand up to what they believe and deserve to make such a huge impact on their lives as well as our lives today.