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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
- The Brown v. Board of Education was a class action suit that was filed in 1951 against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas to get the school
district to reverse its policy of racial segregation.
- The plaintiffs were African-American parents whose children were refused enrollment in the nearest neighborhood school because of race. The parents were
directed instead to the segregated schools.
- The plaintiffs argued that although the system (Jim Crow) was supposedly providing "separate but equal" treatment of both whites and blacks, quite the
opposite was true. The quality of services, accommodations and treatment rendered to blacks were grossly inferior to those afforded to whites, thus depriving
Black Americans of the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
- On May 17, 1954, after much deliberation, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that:
"In the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal..."
- Therefore state-sanctioned segregation was deemed in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution,
thus bolstering subsequent integration efforts and giving rise to the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
- As a matter of principle, the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education also effectively overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which
ruled that "separate but equal" facilities were constitutional.