may 17, 1964 - Brown versus Board of Education


The NAACP had been pushing various cases against segregated schools since World War Two. Although, the catalyst was the appointment of Earl Warren as chief justice in the Supreme Court in 1952, ruling and bringing in desegregation laws in a term known as the 'Warren Court'.

In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Warren famously declared that the “separate but equal” interpretation of the 14th Amendment established since Plessy and Fergusson (1896) was unconstitutional, stating 'in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal'.

However, the Brown judgement was resisted by Southern states which questioned the right of the Supreme Court to interfere in their ‘way of life’. As a result, further verdicts attempted (with limited success) to force the issue:

In Brown versus Board II (1955), Warren held that school systems must abolish their racially dual systems “with all deliberate speed” – but the vagueness of this term was used by Southern states to justify a slow pace of change as they ‘deliberated’ the implications.

The Supreme court ruled that the segregation of students in schools was illegal under the 14th amendment. The governors saw the law as an attack on their inheritance and traditions. They said they would resist the decision- shut down the NAACP in Alabama. Resisted evidence in places like Verginia and Arkansas.

Segregation and education bias was thrust into the limelight, creating awareness.

Added to timeline:

16 Oct 2017
International Baccalaureate History- The Civil Rights Movement


may 17, 1964
~ 54 years ago


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