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Brown v.

Board of Education of Topeka (1)


DECIDED
May 17, 1954

Facts of the case


This case was the consolidation of four cases arising in separate states relating to the
segregation of public schools on the basis of race. In each of the cases, African American
minors had been denied admittance to certain public schools based on laws allowing
public education to be segregated by race. They argued that such segregation violates
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs were denied
relief based on the precedent set by Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the separate
but equal doctrine that stated separate facilities for the races was constitutional as long
as the facilities were substantially equal. In the case arising from Delaware, the
Supreme Court of Delaware ruled that the African American students had to be admitted
to the white public schools because of their higher quality facilities.

Question
Does the segregation of public education based solely on race violate the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion
UNANIMOUS DECISION FOR BROWN ET AL.
MAJORITY OPINION BY EARL WARREN

Separate but equal educational facilities for racial minorities is inherently unequal
violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Yes. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion of the unanimous Court. The Supreme
Court held that separate but equal facilities are inherently unequal and violate the
protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court also
held that the segregation of public education based on race instilled a sense of inferiority
that had a hugely detrimental effect on the education and personal growth of African
American children.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (2)


DECIDED
May 31, 1955

Facts of the case


After its decision in Brown (1) which declared racial discrimination in public education
unconstitutional, the Court convened to issue the directives which would help to
implement its newly announced Constitutional principle. Given the embedded nature of
racial discrimination in public schools and the diverse circumstances under which it had
been practiced, the Court requested further argument on the issue of relief.

Question
What means should be used to implement the principles announced in Brown I?
Conclusion
UNANIMOUS DECISION FOR BROWN ET AL.
MAJORITY OPINION BY EARL WARREN

The Brown (1) decision shall be implemented "with all deliberate speed"

The Court held that the problems identified in Brown I required varied local solutions.
Chief Justice Warren conferred much responsibility on local school authorities and the
courts which originally heard school segregation cases. They were to implement the
principles which the Supreme Court embraced in its first Brown decision. Warren urged
localities to act on the new principles promptly and to move toward full compliance with
them "with all deliberate speed."

SNCC Chairman John Lewiss Speech (Modified)


March on Washington, August 1963
NOTES: Lewis is speaking about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. SNCC stands for the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights organization that played a
critical role in the Freedom Rides of 1961 and the voter registration efforts of the 1960s.

We march for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and
thousands of our brothers are not here. They have no money for their transportation, for
they are receiving starvation wages, or no wages at all.

In good conscience, we cannot support wholeheartedly the administrations civil rights


bill, for it is too little and too late. Theres not one thing in the bill that will protect our
people from police brutality.

I want to know, which side is the federal government on?...

To those who have said, "Be patient and wait," we must say that "patience" is a dirty and
nasty word. We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually. We want our
freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for both the
Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of
Independence.

Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it into the courts.
Listen, Mr. Kennedy. Listen, Mr. Congressman. Listen, fellow citizens. The black masses
are on the march for jobs and freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there
won't be a "cooling-off" period.

We won't stop now The time will come when we will not confine our marching to
Washington. We will march through the South, through the heart of Dixie, the way
Sherman did. We shall pursue our own scorched earth" policy and burn Jim Crow to the
ground nonviolently. We shall fragment the South into a thousand pieces and put them
back together in the image of democracy. We will make the action of the past few
months look petty. And I say to you, WAKE UP AMERICA!
[The Kennedy administration and some of the more conservative speakers
objected to some of Lewis's language. Lewis agreed to modify some elements
of the speech. He cut the words that criticized the President's bill as being
"too little and too late, as well as the call to march "through the heart of
Dixie, the way Sherman did." He also didnt ask, "which side is the federal
government on?" The word "cheap" was removed to describe some political
leaders].