Brian Lim

Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

This landmark case about segregation in public schools changed the way public schools operated. This case began in April 11, 1955. Many people know about this case, but most people don't know what actually occured. The common myth about how this case was started is that Linda Brown was denied access to a local school and instead had to walk to a much farther away African-American school. What actually happened is much different. The NAACP recruited African-American parents in Topeka to file a lawsuit against the school board. Their children were provided with busing to school, however they could only attend designated schools. Another myth is that Oliver Brown was the only plantiff. In reality this case was a combination of five cases from across the country and nearly two hundred plantiffs were represented. The case was named after Brown as part of a legal strategy to have a man's name at the head of the case. With this case the NAACP hoped to end all practice of "Seperate but Equal" in all parts of society, not just public schools.

Constitutional Significance

This case was about whether or not racial discrimination in public schools was unconstituional. Browns attorneys argued that racial discrimination in public schools was against the fourteenth amendment which guarentees equal protection under the law to all U.S. citzens. This case reversed Plessy v. Ferguson.
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This Supreme Court on May 31, 1955, declared racial discrimination in public school systems unconstitutional.Furthermore District Courts now had to adhere to this and all laws allowing racialdiscrimination in public schools were deemed unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said that under "Seperate but Equal" African-Americans were not provided with the same quality schools as Caucasians.

Related Terms, Concepts and People

  • Thurgood Marshall worked with a team of Attorneys on the case
Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall

  • Racial Discrimination - The practice of denying a person access to something based on their race.
  • NAACP - National Association for the Advancment of Colored People
  • "Seperate but Equal" - national slogan for the segregation of Caucasians and African Americans. They were "seperate" but still "equal" (theoretically).