The Case of Linda Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas: A Case of Racial Discrimination in 1951

In the case, the NAACP argued that by separating the black and white students, they were disrupting the idea of “equality”. One of the expert witnesses, Dr. Hugh W. Speer, testified that:

“… if the colored children are denied the experience in school of associating with the white children, who represent 90 percent of our national society in which these colored children must live, then the colored child’s curriculum is being greatly curtailed. The Topeka curriculum or any school curriculum cannot be equal under segregation”.

The board’s defense was that by having segregation in schools, they were preparing the children for segregation in the real world, and this was a way of helping them grow.

The court faced a difficult problem. In their decision they wrote: “Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect on the colored children… A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of the child to learn”. However, the court did not make any official dection at the time.

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Soon enough, more and more cases similar to the Brown’s case, started to come up. In most cases, the 14th amendment (freed African Americans had the same rights as any other person) had been brought up, and on May 17th 1954, they came up with a final decision:

“We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and

other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does… We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.

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Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of equal protection of the laws granted by the fourteenth amendment.”

The Supreme Court struck down the “separate but not equal” doctrine of Plessy for public education, in favor of the plaintiff’s. It also declared the mandatory segregation that existed in the 21 states unconstitutional. I think that this was a giant step towards complete desegregation of public schools. This was also a huge step in the equality of African American people, and even though, this was still a long way from being totally solved, it would soon become apparent.

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The Case of Linda Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas: A Case of Racial Discrimination in 1951. (2022, Nov 17). Retrieved from

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