Brown v Board of Education: The Fight for Equality

During the historic Civil Rights Movement in America, one of the most prominent struggles was the fight against racial segregation in schools. Jim Crow laws throughout the country separated students based on race depriving black students of quality education. These discriminatory laws were upheld by the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy vs Ferguson. This decision ruled that racial segregation was legal as long as both facilities were “separate but equal.” This system was in no way equal as many black Americans were barred from equal access to education, health care, and work.

This discriminatory system was challenged in 1951 when Oliver Brown and twelve other black families filed a lawsuit against the Topeka Kansas Board of Education when their children were not permitted to enroll in all white schools. When the case reached the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall represented the Browns. The Court ruled in favor of Brown which overturned Plessy vs Ferguson. It was now unconstitutional to segrate American public schools and educational facilities. Brown v Board of Education major racial integration in America.

This clip from the comedy Black-ish gives a brief history of Brown v Board of Education and the impact of its legacy.


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Although Brown v Board of Education was a major victory for the Civil Rights Movement which made racial segregation illegal on paper many schools resisted the decision. Even today many public schools are actually less integrated than they were before decades before. Clearly, we must continue to work to achieve the promise established by the Brown v Board of Education ruling. Separation based on race is inherently unequal.

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