Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was a milestone in American history, as it began the long process of racial integration, starting with schools. Segregated schools were not equal in quality, so African-American families spearheaded the fight for equality. Brown v. Board stated that public schools must integrate. This court decision created enormous controversy throughout the United States. Without this case, the United States may still be segregated today.
Although the Fourteenth Amendment, when adopted in 1868, gave certain rights to blacks, including citizenship, equal protection of law and other freedoms, African-Americans were considered inferior by whites in this country. In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson officially made segregation legal, and put “separate but equal” into effect. African-Americans were excluded from hotels, restaurants, theatres and schools. African-Americans had lower paying jobs than did whites. Accumulated frustration led blacks to call for dramatic social change. (Good, 8-10)
African-Americans endured poor academic conditions throughout the entire United States, not just in the south. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, the segregated school had no nurse, lockers, gym or cafeteria. In Clarendon County, South Carolina, buses were not available to the African-American school, but were available to the white schools. In Wilmington, Delaware, no extra curricular activities or buses were offered to the African-American school. In Washington DC, the situation in segregated schools was the same as in the other states, but the textbooks were outdated. (Good, 21-34)
In Topeka, Kansas, the school for African-American children appeared to be equal to that of the white school. However, the school was overcrowded and buses were not available to the African-American schools. The main plaintiff of this case was Oliver Brown, a father to a student at the segregated school, of which the case is named for. The five reports of school segregation separately went to local courts with no avail. The cases then appealed to the Supreme Court, where they were pooled under the title “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas”. (Good, 31, 32) (Davidson et al. 850)
Lawyers for Brown v. Board were sent from the NAACP. The NAACP was created in 1909 and stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Its mission is to protect the educational, social and economic rights minorities throughout the United States. One way the NAACP fought for equality was to supply lawyers for those whose rights were violated. (Benoit, 17-19)
There were many arguments both for and against school segregation. One was the claim that educational decisions were to be left to the state and local courts, and not to be decided by the Supreme Court. Another was that students should be taught where they are most comfortable learning. It was thought that white children were more comfortable learning with white children and the same goes for...