Brown v. Board of Education Essay.docx - Sciancalepore 1...

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Sciancalepore 1 Michael Sciancalepore Professor Karl UISC 212 - Discovering America III: American Civilization, 1945 to Present April 15, 2019 How Brown v. Board of Education impacted U.S. Society On May 17, 1954, Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice delivered the unanimous ruling in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas . State sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment which makes it unconstitutional. This historic decision marked the end of the "separate but equal" precedent set by the Supreme Court nearly sixty years earlier in Plessy v. Ferguson and served as a catalyst for the expanding civil rights movement during the decade of the 1950s (1). Brown v. Board of Education , also known as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices unanimously ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, which happened during the 1950s and 1960s, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all (3). It is now achknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that racial segregation of children in public schools violed the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Even though the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Sciancalepore 2
Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution (2). Even though it is stated in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal,” this statement was not grounded in law in the United States until after the Civil War due to the institution of slavery. It is also arguable that this statement was still not completely fulfilled for many years after the Civil War. The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865, which finally put an end to slavery in the United States. Even more, the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by stating, among other things, that no state shall deprive anyone of either “due process of law” or of the “equal protection of the law.” Finally, the Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, further strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by prohibiting states from denying anyone the right to vote due to race (4). Even with these amendments, Aftican Americans were still often treated differently than whites in several parts of the country, especially the South. In fact, many state legislatures enacted laws that led to the legally mandated segregation of the races. This means that many states allowed blacks and whites to use separate public facilities, separate buses, attend separate schools, and more. These laws became known as the Jim Crow laws. Although many people felt

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