Brown v. Board of Education
Maddy Dockery-Fuhrmann

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court overnurned previous rulings (Plessy v. Ferguson) by declaring that laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities. The Warren Court’s unanimously (9-0) decided that “separate educational facilities are inherintly unequal.” They argued that the previous rulings had enstated inferior treatment for black Americans.
The Court’s decision was influenced by the research of two educational phychologists, Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark. They were also influence by UNESCO’s 1950 Statement, The Race Question, which was signed by a variety of internationally renowned scholars. It opposed previous justifications for racism and it ethically condemned racism. They were also influenced by Gunnar Mydral’s An American Dilema: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy.
In 1951, a class action suit was filed against the Board of Education in the City of Topeka, Kansas. The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their twenty children.The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation.The named plaintiff, Oliver L. Brown, was a parent whose third grade daughter, Linda Brown, had to walk six blocks to her school bus stop to ride to her segregated black school which was one mile away, while Sumner Elementary, a white school, was only seven blocks from her house.
Before filing their case, the parents each attempted to enroll their children in the closest neighborhood school in the fall of 1951. They were all denied enrollment and told to go to the segregated schools. The Kansas case was between Oliver Brown and the twelve other parents and The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
The case of Brown v. Board of Education that was presented to the Supreme Court combined five different cases filed from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington D.C. that were all were NAACP-sponsored cases.

Unfortunately,with the shock to many people that came with this decision, there were some negative outcomes. In Virginia, Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. organized the Massive Resistance movement which closed schools rather than desegregated them. Various other governors and local leaders acted out, closing schools, or prohibiting admittance to black students.
But positively, soon after the court decision, election results and the political atmosphere in Topeka changed. The Board of Education began to end segregation in the Topeka elementary schools.
However, this hadn’t been the first time desegregation was proposed.
It was the eleventh attempt to change the Kansas law and the third to come from Topeka. So, to finally win the case was a huge win for the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement in General.
In the short term, the ruling desegregated schools at the national level and caused much turbulence among society. Long-term gains, however, were positive and the decision helped to move forward the Civil Rights Movement, changing government and society’s beliefs one law at a time.
For about ninety years before the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, society was dominated by racial segregation as a result of the Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling, stating that separate facilities did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment as long as they were equal. So, again, for the Supreme Court to make such a drastic change was a good sign America was progressing and moving away from racism.
This was a major step not only in the actual Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s but also in the Civil Rights Movement that is the constant battle that the U.S. fights against racism in society even to this day. The Brown v. Board of Education decision made a huge difference in the way people viewed society, by uniting learning environments and making sure they were not segregated and changing the ways of life for most of America.