Studies

Brown v Board of Ed

The Cases of Brown et al Versus Board of Education The Cases of Brown versus the Board of Education Americans have been struggling to overcome racial discrimination and promote equality for a long time. The anti-discrimination efforts started a long time back. Racism has existed in this nation since the 1890’s. The minority groups namely Negroes, Hispanics, Latinos and Indians have suffered the most out of the race issue. Early in the 1900’s education belonged to the whites only. The minority groups demanded the freedom to enjoy equal rights. The government then embarked on a policy that encouraged both blacks and whites to attend school. However, there was strict segregation. Blacks and whites attended different schools. This condition brought about the five cases demanding inclusion in schools. One of cases involved the parents of a little girl versus the board of education of Topeka. The girl’s parents intended to enroll her in an all-white school. This was in the 1950’s and although schools for blacks and whites were separate, they claimed they offered equal opportunities. These are the reasons why Brown and other black children could not receive admissions in the all-white schools. Before Brown’s case, the American society especially in the south believed in ‘separate and equal’ doctrine laid out by the Supreme Court after Plessey versus Fergusson case in 1896. In many states, the doctrine received an interpretation that further led to blacks feeling inferior. In most states, school systems favored white schools offering them better learning opportunities and facilities. On the other hand, black children suffered. Only a percentage of them attended school while all white children had access to quality education. Black children had to walk miles to get to school if schools in their neighborhoods were for whites. Conditions in black schools were poor. Many blacks filed lawsuits in district courts demanding fair treatment between whites and blacks but they lost (Miller, 2004). Conditions were similar in Delamere, Virginia, Kansas and other southern states. Similar cases against high school and college segregation were coming up often. According to Anderson (2004), Thurgood Marshall and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People took up many of the cases fighting for desegregation in schools. The Supreme Court that had that laid out the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine received various challenges regarding the use of the same against blacks. In most schools, separate applied but equality was far beyond reach. The states spend a large amount to educate whites and only a small percentage went to black schools. The Brown et al cases received hearings in district courts in 1952-1955 but they lost. The courts supported the school system and its regulations. Most of these courts were not ready to believe that blacks did not have a fair chance in education. Fortunately, the Supreme Court decided to hear all the five cases concerning segregation after considerations of their appeals. Oliver Brown was one of the parents who volunteered to testify in the case. NAACP had made efforts and won the Delamere case that denied some children admission in a white school. This victory increased the enthusiasm of the people. The judge ruling the case mentioned that the Supreme Court should change its stand concerning the ‘separate and equal’ policy (Miller, 2004). The Supreme Court hearing of these cases marked a benchmark in the desegregation of schools in America. Parents volunteered to testify during the case hearing and presented evidences on the injustice that black children were facing. Members of NAACP, Thurgood Marshall and other colleagues explained to the Supreme Court on the effects of segregation of black children. Psychological experts presented their views on the long-term effects that segregation would cause on the black children. The victory in these cases was a celebration to every black because it formed one of the platforms that would grant all citizens equal rights. The Supreme Court declared that schools should focus on inclusion and offering both whites and blacks equal opportunities in education (Anderson, 2004). The victory of the brown case and the arguments surrounding it has received many criticisms. It is worth noting that the victory gave birth to integration in schools. Most of the people challenging the ruling do so out of their personal convictions brought about by racial prejudices. Some logical arguments exist as well. There are views that the Supreme Court did not give a definitive ruling on integration. There are obvious consequences for this because the nation faces challenges in the integration process. The brown cases achieved a remarkable victory that granted black children an equal opportunity pertaining education. The colored people have benefited because of the victory as it gave them hope that integration in other sectors was a possibility. The process of full integration and inclusion has never been easy for America. However, things are better than they were during the Jim Crow era. Black children have access to quality education and a better learning environment. In the southern states where segregation rated highest in the 1950’s, currently, they have embraced integration and inclusion in most of the schools. Studies reveal that in this region, integration has had great success. This is living proof of the brown legacy. References Anderson, W. (2004). Brown v. Board of Education: The case against school segregation. New York: Rosen Pub. Group. Miller, J. (2004). Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: Challenging school segregation in the Supreme Court. New York: PowerKids Press.

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