BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION
Brown vs. the Board of Education has a valid case of being one of, if not the biggest Supreme Court decisions in United State history. Because of the 1896 court case Plessy v. Ferguson, which allowed for segregation across a variety of communitive scenarios, many schools had racially segregated. This lead to clear distinctions and quality of education between the schools for white children and those of black children. The argument of the original court case was that the separate schools would be “substantially” equal for all children. This court case stood until 1954, when the Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. The Board of Education found that it went against constitutional rights.
Despite the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments granting African-American the same “due process of law” and “equal protection of the law” as well as the right to vote, things were hardly equal for black American’s through the 1960’s. An accurate and depictive representation of the way supporters of equal rights felt was stated by Justice Henry Billings Brown during the Plessy v. Ferguson court case saying that “The object of the [Fourteenth] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality. . . If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.” Sadly, this case did not go in favor of Plessy and Billings Brown, and Jim Crow Laws were put into effect.
The justices over 50 years later in the Brown vs. Board of Education act did agree with Billings Brown’s message however when they came to their decision by reviewing the case of separate but equal. Psychological studies found that black girls in segregated schools were more prone to have lower self-esteem and that the separation was leading to certain inferiority complexes amongst the children. The court viewed these issues as part of a greater whole that negatively affected the learning ability of the students. Chief Justice Earl Warren and the other justices concluded that even if certain schools were of similar quality, the act of segregating schools was “inherently unequal” meaning that it was unconstitutional.
The end result of this very important court case was that the federal government was officially taking a stance against segregation in social and political institutions. It was not the beginning of the Civil Rights campaign like many believe it to be, but it could hardly be argued that Brown vs. the Board of Education was not a key moment in the movement for equality. After the original case, the Supreme Court had to convene again in the second Brown vs. Board of Education to which the cause for equality gained more support. The case ended with the court ordering states to implement the ruling of the original case and doing so “with all deliberate speed”.