During the 1950s, the United States was on the brink of eruption. Not literally, of course, but in a sense yes. Though it had been about a century after slavery was abolished, African Americans in the United States were still being treated as second-class citizens. Separate but equal, as outlined in the landmark case Plessy versus Ferguson of 1896, became a standard doctrine in the United States law. This was a defeat for many blacks because not only were the facilities were clearly unequal, but it restored white supremacy in the South. It would be years before any sense of hope would come from another prominent landmark case victory.
In the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, members of the Supreme Court believed this decision for “separate but equal” facilities did not violate any laws. For example, Justice B. Brown, known for writing the majority opinion on the case, writes the ruling “neither abridges the privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the equal protection of the laws, within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment”. He goes on to write that the separation does not stamp “the colored race with a badge of inferiority.”
Brown versus the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas was perhaps the most renowned cases of its time. The thirteen plaintiffs on behalf on their children filed a class action lawsuit against the district in order for it to reverse its policy of racial segregation. One named plaintiff, Oliver L. Brown, an admired African American member of his community, complained that his young daughter had to walk six blocks to the bus stop to attend her all black school, while the white school was closer. After the victory, The Board of Education of Topeka began to end segregation in the Topeka elementary schools, allowing for integration in the schools.
The Supreme Court’s ruling did not take into account the majority opinion in Plessy versus Ferguson. Had it done so, the outcome would have been quite different. In the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, it was clear that there was some bias. Not only did it restore white supremacy but it violated the Fourteenth Amendment as well. This is because black facilities were undoubtedly unequal to those of the whites for that the white facilities were made with more quality, to say the least. Many whites were elated when the separate but equal facilities’ ruling was put into effect. For them, it was another moment to prove that the blacks were inferior. Though Kansas is not a southern state, members of the Supreme Court knew that many racists were going to be upset had the plaintiffs won. However, they did not let that hinder the outcome of the case. Because they knew what was right is right and what...