Separate But Equal: A Law Meant To Be Broken

Racial segregation among the locality affected schools’ unity, this led to the segregation of many schools in America. The segregation law excluded the children of black families from joining the institutions of their choice. As a result, various schools were predominantly white, while Blacks were denied access to those schools. Whites separated students according to ethnicity and family income level. Subsequently, separated children experienced many limitations such as denial to choose schools, limited unity and well- being. White parents created the isolation laws and later in the 1950s, the Supreme Court gave the ruling in Brown versus board that public schools boards should eliminate segregation laws after the overturning of the segregated academies, the ongoing results of the losses were low academic performance and social integration.

The case of Plessy versus Ferguson paved the way for Brown versus the Board of Education that led to desegregation. Unfortunately, the damage would last indefinitely. Beyond the reality of segregated school laws, the results were unethical it did not display a moral uprightness.

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The formulated segregation laws discriminated against the Blacks and less affluent. In 1864, the Civil Rights Act is passed by congress. The civil war gave blacks their civil rights, but they were still treated as less than humans. In the latter days, White Americans were an agricultural and rural-based community.

In the 1890s, the nation underwent economic, political and social cultural changes that mark the onset of modern America. In 1890, Act.111 was passed in Louisiana, this doctrine mandated separate spaces for blacks and whites on railcars.

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The railcars were to be equal in all aspects. A group made up of some whites and blacks decided to join forces and formed what they called the Concerned Citizens Group. The select group wanted to revoke this law, and so decided to test the separate car act. The group knew that if they challenged this act, it would reach the level of the Supreme Court. Funds were raised to procure a lawyer. Albion Tourgee was contacted and agreed to represent them pro-bono. In 1892, Homer Plessy, an octoroon, was enlisted to partake in this act of disobedience to challenge the Separate Car Act. Plessy was light skinned and had no visible traits of a black person. Once seated in the railcar designated for whites, he was asked to relocate to the colored car because of his 1/8th black blood. Plessy was arrested and jailed. Plessy’s lawyer argued that the separate car act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States (Wormser2002). Plessy lost this case and appealed to the Supreme Court. Plessy v Ferguson was a historical landmark case in 1986.

The United States court of law’s decision advocated racial discrimination ensuring separate entities but with equal chances of benefit. However, blacks were against segregation, and therefore, resisted these decisions claiming it was against their constitutional rights as Americans (Thomas1997). Due to this decision the Jim Crow laws became legalized, ensuring the laws existence for the next half century.According to McArdle an Asevedo (2017), segregation limited social interaction among the children which limited the value of the social unit and rights of the people. In a segregated society, a vulnerable group of people suffered elimination from access to public facilities. Segregation is still happening today, despite what many people believe, racial discrimination being the most prevalent. Humes, Jones and Ramirez 2011 stated that whites practice academic segregation, there is a real correlation between neighborhoods and its equality to education. Therefore, separation of communities resulted in school segregation. An adjustment of school boundaries could have solved much of school choices. The adverse effects of segregated academies were poor schooling, reduced social integration, and eventually, poor academic performance.

Segregated children experienced many problems when society became ethical, political and economically divided. The whites maltreated Blacks in the schools as a result of neighborhood divisions in terms of race and ethnicity. Segregation of academies affected children's performance in their education as well as their social interactivity with others. Jim Crow laws ensured the maintenance of racial discrimination long after the end of the civil war. Subsequently, separation of schools affected children's performance and there are opportunities according to McArdle and Asevedo (2017) children are highly sensitive and therefore isolation created adverse effects that will last their entire lives. The Cumberland Times News Published an article on April 14th, 2001 entitled: Inspired by Teachers, Together We Overcame Segregation. The article gives a firsthand experience of what black children and teachers had to face daily. The article was written by Dolores gates-Thomas, a former student of Carver school. The article exemplifies the determination of the teachers to give the students a proper and thorough education even without an adequate curriculum. The school lacked many basic resources and supplies.

The article describes desks that were not big enough, broken chairs, chalk boards that were faded, and used textbooks. The writer describes the textbooks as being too dirty or torn to be used in the white schools, so they were shipped to Carver. The books had to be cleaned thoroughly before the black students could use them. Imagine having to clean gum and dried mucus from the books for them to be used. After Carver, the boys were expected to take trade courses. All girls were expected to continue in the home economics building, where they were taught domestic duties. Any funds that were raised by the students of Carver, went to the Board of Education. Said funds were never given to Carver for any improvements. Many of Carver's students came from other towns and states. Students would stay with families in Cumberland so they could obtain an education. Oliver Brown initiated a challenge of the segregation of schools in Topeka KS in 1951. The Brown family lived close to a white academy, the black institution was further away from the residence.

Brown's third grade daughter had to walk over a mile, through a railroad yard to get to her school because of segregation. Brown was refused when he tried to obtain admittance for his daughter in the white Academy. This refusal sparked a fight against segregation that would last many years. Brown and several black families sought help from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from Topeka. The NAACP sought an injunction to stop segregation in Topeka schools. The case was argued for two days in the United States District Court, resulting in favor of the Board of Education. In 1952, the Brown case was appealed to the Supreme Court where it was combined with five cases from other states with similar appeals. The NAACP, with Thurgood Marshall in the forefront, argued that the ‘separate by equal’ ruling of Plessy v Ferguson violated the 14th amendment. Supreme Court members were divided and decided to rehear all the cases again the following term, this delay benefited the petitioners.

A new Chief Justice was appointed in September of 1953. Sessions resumed and the cases were reheard. Marshall argued that the separate but equal rule was erroneous and wanted a reversal under the 14th amendment. Arguments also pointed out that the ruling let the government stop any state action based on race, including school segregation (Brown V board). On May 17, 1954, The Supreme Court declared that school segregation was unconstitutional. Followed in 1955, by unanimous decision the Supreme Court announced that all schools were to start desegregation “with all deliberate speed “. This decision became known as Brown II. A series of events took place that demonstrated the ongoing result of Loss after Brown's decision to overturn the segregation law in the 1950s. Many of the whites were against the resolution and they went further to challenge The Supreme court's ruling. The whites practiced discrimination despite the court's decision. The whites were against any law that could support blacks since racial discrimination was deep rooted in America.Moreover, it was hard for black Americans to attend various segregated schools, particularly universities.

For instance, in 1956, Autherine Lucy was the first black American to report to Alabama University. She faced massive resistance from the students in the University who protested, demonstrating the magnitude of racial segregation by whites. The demonstrations led the University to believe they should expel Lucy, for her own safety. On her behalf, Thurgood Marshall presented her case to the court, and the Supreme Court prohibited the University from expelling Lucy. Ironically, Alabama dismissed Lucy three days later, after the court ruling. Shores and Marshall went back to court to advocate for her rights, but later withdrew the case because of lack of support (Caro, 2002). In opposition to the Supreme court's ruling, the white citizens council made many plans to preserve segregation and preserve segregated schools. This scenario displayed that school segregation was rampant and that white students did not want to mingle with the Blacks. In Little Rock AR, nine black students enrolled in the local high school in 1957. These nine were chosen from a prospective group of 80 black students. All eighty students were interviewed to establish their suitability for admittance. The nine black students arrived at the school and were me by an angry mob of protesters, which shouted racial slurs and threatened physical harm to the black students. The governor of Arkansas called the National Guard to block their entrance into the school. This started what was called the Little Rock Crisis and sparked national disputes of civil rights and ethnic discrimination.

Later that same month, President Eisenhower stepped in and federalized the Arkansas National Guard under executive order 10730. This allowed the president to order the now-federalized National Guard to escort those nine black students into the school The President had members of the United States Army posted at the school for the rest of the year to safeguard the nine students. The act of segregating academies to exclude blacks from the whites was unethical and not morally upright. The decisions had many adverse effects because whites denied blacks their rights. The neighborhood divisions were key promoters to facilitate segregation of blacks from the public schools in America. Segregation of schools lowered the performance level, integration, and self- esteem of the children (Reardon,2016).

For example, Lucy had a dream of studying library science at the University of Alabama, but woefully her dreams were crushed by the whites. It remains unethical for the students at the university to protest her admission instead of welcoming her. Institutions should not be discriminative, the leaders should maintain law and order, and should lead by example. According to an article by Erica Frankenberg in 2019, the study shows that school segregation is greater than it has been in years. “The percentage of black students in intensely segregated schools in the South dropped dramatically until the late 1980s. I was one of many children in the S who attended desegregated schools during this time period”


Fra19 l 1033 (Frankenberg, 2019). Many rules regarding zoning of neighborhoods are still allocated according to ethnicity, even though the Supreme Court banned these rules in 1917CITATION Rot141 l 1033 (Rothstein, 2014). Most of the cities started Homeowners Associations to sanction deed restrictions dependent on race. This way they could keep the races segregated without breaching the 1917 Supreme Court’s decision. Urban renewal projects in the 1980s had the same principle, getting the inferior people away from businesses, health care facilities and academies CITATION Rot141 l 1033 (Rothstein, 2014). Houses were torn down, in their place public housing and ghettos were the only option the underprivileged had the choice of obtaining. Interstate highways was another way to separate the black and white neighborhoods. It is discouraging to deny a child a chance because their parents were from a different race, therefore segregation of academies and housing should be a thing of the past. References BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Boschma, J. &. (2016, Feb). The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools. Retrieved from the, R. A. (2002). Autherine Lucy at the Uiversity of Alabama: How the Mob Won. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 37,124.Documents related to Brown v. Board of Education. (1954, May 17). Retrieved from Nationl Archives:, E. (2019, July 20). What School Segregation Looks Like in the US Today. Retrieved from Truthout:, D. (2001, April 14). Inspired by teachers, together we overcame segregation. Retrieved from Western Maryland Historical Library:, K. R. (2011). Overview of race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. Washington, DC: 2010 Census Briefs US Department of Commerce.McArdle, N. &.-G. (2017). Consequences of Segregation for Children's opportunity and Wellbeing. Retrieved from, C. (2017, Oct 1). Little Rco Crisis, 1957. Retrieved from BlackPast: v. Ferguson. (1896, May 18). Retrieved from Supreme court of ther United States: http:/, S. (2016). School Segregation and racial academic achievement gaps. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences,2(5), 34-57.Rothstein, R. (2014, Nov. 12). The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, Segregated Neighborhoods - A Constitutional Insult. Retrieved from Economic Policy Institute:, D. T. (2010). How do forced-choice dilemmas affect multiracial people? The role of identity autonomy and public regard in depressive symptoms. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(7), 1657-1677.Shawyer, S. (2004, Feb 29). Breaking Barriers. Retrieved from The Western Maryland Historical Society:, V. &. (2016, Dec. 14). The Reason America's Schools are so Segregated - and the Only Way to Fix It. Retrieved from Aftermath -Brown v. Board at Fifty: "With an Even Hand". (2019). Retrieved from Exhibitions - Library of Congress: Recent Past. (1988, March 27). Retrieved from Western Maryland Historical Library:, C. (1997). The virtue of Defeat: Plessy v Ferguson in retrospect. Retrieved from deepdyve:, R. (2002). The rise and fall of Jim Crow. Retrieved from Educational Broadcasting Corp:

Updated: May 19, 2021
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Separate But Equal: A Law Meant To Be Broken essay
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