Реферат: Civil Rights

– Brown V. Board Of Education Essay, Research Paper

Brown v. Board of Education

In 1896 the Supreme Court had held in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial

segregation was permissible as long as equal facilities were provided for

both races. Although that decision involved only passenger accommodations on

a rail road, the principle of “separate but equal” was applied thereafter to

all aspects of public life in states with large black populations.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, decided on May 17, 1954, was

one of the most important cases in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Linda Brown had been denied admission to an elementary school in Topeka

because she was black. Brought together under the Brown designation were

companion cases from South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, all of which

involved the same basic question: Does the equal protection clause of the

14th Amendment prohibit racial segregation in the public schools?

It was not until the late 1940’s that the Court began to insist on equality

of treatment, but it did not squarely face the constitutionality of the

“separate but equal” doctrine until it decided the Brown case. In a brief,

unanimous opinion delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court declared

that: “separate education facilities are inherently unequal” and that racial

segregation violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. In a

moving passage, the chief justice argued that separating children in the

schools solely on racial grounds “generates a felling of inferiority as to

their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way

unlikely to be undone.” Although the decision did not bring about total

integration of blacks in the schools, it resulted in efforts by many school

systems to remove the imbalance by busing students. The Court’s decision had

far reaching effects, influencing civil rights legislation and the civil

rights movement of the 1960’s.

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