Long before Brown’s case in 1954, there was a history of poor quality facilities in the schools for African American children. The schools usually lacked basic supplies and had old textbooks which were no longer valid. African American leaders, educators and organizations such as NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) came together to change the education system for these children.
Brown v. Board of education was initiated when an all-white elementary public school in Topeka, Kansas, denied admission to Linda Brown who was the daughter of a local black resident Oliver Brown. She was in third grade and the school was closest to their home but they suggested her to ride a bus to a segregated black elementary school farther away. In 1951, Oliver Brown was recruited to be part of the legal action to end segregation in public elementary schools. Brown filed a class-action suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
Five more cases related to school segregation appeared in U.S Supreme Court, but none of them were successful. Then the Supreme Court combined these cases into a single case which eventually became Brown v. Board of Education. More parents has come forward to join this action. In his lawsuit, Brown states that schools for black children were not equal to the White schools. The segregation had “detrimental effect upon the colored children” and contributed to “a sense of inferiority,”
On May 17, 1954, U.S Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in publics schools is unconstitutional. It violated the 14th amendment that granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren wrote that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” Today marks the 57th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.