Political Science Essay-Brown VS The Board of Education

Political Science Essay-Brown VS The Board of Education -...

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Fairbanks Aja Fairbanks Professor Miller Political Science 28 April 2011 Brown Vs. The Board of Education What are Civil Rights? “Civil Rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment in a number of settings including education, employment, and housing based on certain legally protected characteristics” (“What are Civil Rights” par. 1 ). Examples of Civil Rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places” (Legal Information Institute par. 1). The 1954 case Brown vs. the Board of Education caused the United States courts to re-evaluate their definition of “civil rights” and “separate but equal laws.” During 1892, the state of Louisiana had a law that stated, “if you have any black ancestors, you are considered black” (Louisiana Government). Failure to adhere to this Louisiana Law would result in going to jail or paying a fine. Yet Homer Plessy, a mulatto, was arrested for sitting in a whites-only car on the East Louisiana Railroad. Later, Plessy took his case to court and argued that the Louisiana Law violated the 13 th Amendment of the Constitution that declared “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States” (The Library of Congress par. 1). And the 14 th Amendment granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty, and property, or property, without due process of law” (The Library of Congress par. 1). However, the decision and rationale by the Court proved Plessy’s arguments were incorrect: Justice Henry B. Brown of Michigan delivered the 7-1 decision of the Court that upheld the Louisiana law requiring segregation. Brown noted that the law did not violate either
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Fairbanks the 13 th or 14 th Amendments. He stated that the 13 th Amendment applied only to slavery, and the 14 th amendment was not intended to give African Americans social equality but only political and civil equality with white people. (par. 9) After losing his case in a local court with Judge Ferguson, Plessy took his case to the Supreme Court of Louisiana where Plessy lost his case for the second time. Obviously, Plessy was unsuccessful with his fight against unequal laws in Louisiana. However, the Plessy vs. Ferguson case had a huge impact in United States History. Plessy vs. Ferguson initiated the debate and fight for equal rights in public settings such as restrooms, restaurants, buses, trains, and schools. The fight for equality in public settings had just begun with the Plessy vs. Ferguson case. Sixty years later, unjust separate but equal laws in public schools led to the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. the Board of Education . The Brown vs. the Board of Education lawsuit started in 1951 in Topeka, Kansas. Fourteen parents attempted to enroll their children in local white public schools, but they were all turned away because they were African Americans. The fourteen parents filed a lawsuit against Topeka’s Board of Education after they were turned away. The U.S
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  • Fall '07
  • Supreme Court of the United States, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Brown v. Board of Education, Board of Education, Justice Henry B. Brown

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