Supreme Court ended federally sanctioned racial segregation in the public schools by ruling unanimously that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Fergusonwhich had declared "separate but equal facilities" constitutional, but also provided the legal foundation of the Civil Rights Movement of the s.
This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-judge federal district court denied relief to the plaintiffs on the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine announced by this Court in Plessy v.
Under that doctrine, equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities, even though these facilities be separate. In the Delaware case, the Supreme Court of Delaware adhered to that doctrine, but ordered that the plaintiffs be admitted to the white schools because of their superiority to the Negro schools.
The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal," and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. Because of the obvious importance of the question presented, the Court took jurisdiction.
It covered exhaustively consideration of the Amendment in Congress, ratification by the states, then-existing practices in racial segregation, and the views of proponents and opponents of the Amendment.
This discussion and our own investigation convince us that, although these sources cast some light, it is not enough to resolve the problem with which we are faced.
At best, they are inconclusive. The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments undoubtedly intended them to remove all legal distinctions among "all persons born or naturalized in the United States. What others in Congress and the state legislatures had in mind cannot be determined with any degree of certainty.
An additional reason for the inconclusive nature of the Amendment's history with respect to segregated schools is the status of public education at that time. Education of white children was largely in the hands of private groups.
Education of Negroes was almost nonexistent, and practically all of the race were illiterate. In fact, any education of Negroes was forbidden by law in some states.
Today, in contrast, many Negroes have achieved outstanding success in the arts and sciences, as well as in the business and professional world.
It is true that public school education at the time of the Amendment had advanced further in the North, but the effect of the Amendment on Northern States was generally ignored in the congressional debates.
Even in the North, the conditions of public education did not approximate those existing today. The curriculum was usually rudimentary; ungraded schools were common in rural areas; the school term was but three months a year in many states, and compulsory school attendance was virtually unknown.
As a consequence, it is not surprising that there should be so little in the history of the Fourteenth Amendment relating to its intended effect on public education. In the first cases in this Court construing the Fourteenth Amendment, decided shortly after its adoption, the Court interpreted it as proscribing all state-imposed discriminations against the Negro race.
Ferguson, supra, involving not education but transportation. In this Court, there have been six cases involving the "separate but equal" doctrine in the field of public education.
County Board of Education, U. Oklahoma State Regents, U. In none of these cases was it necessary to reexamine the doctrine to grant relief to the Negro plaintiff.
And in Sweatt v. Painter, supra, the Court expressly reserved decision on the question whether Plessy v. Ferguson should be held inapplicable to public education. In the instant cases, that question is directly presented. Here, unlike Sweatt v. Painter, there are findings below that the Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other "tangible" factors.
We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education. In approaching this problem, we cannot turn the clock back towhen the Amendment was adopted, or even towhen Plessy v. We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life throughout  the Nation.
Only in this way can it be determined if segregation in public schools deprives these plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws. Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments.
Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society.
It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.
In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.
We come then to the question presented: We believe that it does.While Linda Brown is being celebrated for her role in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case that desegregated US schools, a researcher says the story behind the case is more complex.
United States Supreme Court BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, () No. 10 Argued: December 9, Decided: May 17, Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment - even .
Based on an law, the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas operated separate elementary schools for white and African-American students in communities with more than 15, residents.
Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v.
marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to end segregation in public schools. Many people were elated when Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered Brown initiativeblog.com of Education of Topeka in May , the ruling that struck down state-sponsored racial segregation in America's public schools.
Thurgood Marshall, chief attorney for the black families. Listen to a podcast about the Supreme Court landmark case Brown v. Board of Education.