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The Importance Of Brown Vs. The Board Of Education

1420 words - 6 pages

Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case in the history of American education. There were several events and issues which led up to this critical event. From the 1892 Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court Case, the precedent of "separate but equal" was set. This doctrine affected the school system, in that there were separate schools for white and black children. These schools were constitutional as long as they were equal. In the 1900s, with industrialism in the forefront, the cities went through a process of alteration. This concept is crucial because it illustrates that people began to live in ethnic enclaves. These neighborhoods later effected where students would attend school. In ...view middle of the document...

This case was very similar to the case of Sweatt vs. Painter in 1950, which will be detailed later.The decade between 1950 and 1960 was a very shaky time period in terms of segregation and the educational system. The Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education was the main event during that decade in regards to integrating and equalizing the school system. This case challenged the doctrine of "separate but equal." It was ruled, in a unanimous decision, that segregated schools were inherently unequal. Furthermore, the judges, in their ruling stated that "A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn." The black children were deprived the equal protection of the laws stated in the Fourteenth Amendment. The integration of public schools was mandated by the Supreme Court.Brown vs. Board of Education was not the first case which ruled that segregated schools caused a sense of inferiority for black children. In the 1950 Bolling vs. Sharpe case, the judge, who ruled in opposition of the black children, stated that "school segregation is humiliating to Negroes. It brands the Negro with the mark of inferiority and asserts that he is not fit to associate with white people." From this opinion, Bolling vs. Sharpe went before the Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor on the black children at about the same time the ruling for Brown vs. Board of Education was handed down.There were many issues related to segregation and higher education during this decade. In Sweatt vs. Painter, similar to Gaines vs. Missouri, the Supreme Court forced the University of Texas Law School to admit Sweatt, a black student, because the black law school was not equal in terms of reputation to the white school. Additionally, in McLaurin vs. Oklahoma State, McLaurin argued that his constitutional rights were being violated. McLaurin was forced to sit in isolated seats in a classroom, library and cafeteria. In another unanimous decision, the Court ruled in favor of McLaurin. These two cases contributed to the case of Brown vs. Board of Education by setting the precedent that the doctrine of "separate but equal" was not applicable to the educational system.Aside from the various Supreme Court cases regarding education, there were many important issues residing during this time period. The Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum, America launched their first satellite, the Second Red Scare was picking up pace, the Korean War began, and we had the entry of the Counter Culture. In addition, racial boundaries were being broken in athletics, with Jackie Robinson entering the Major League of Baseball, and in literature, with many black authors getting published, including Ralph Ellison with his novel The Invisible Man which depicted the feelings of African-Americans as not being seen in American society.The era that followed the 1950s consisted of many educational controversies which had their roots in the past. Brown vs. Board of Education was the foundation...

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