60th Anniversary Brown v Board of Education

Desegregation of public schools

Maura Fennelly, Co-Editor-in-Chief

This past Saturday, May 17th, marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The monumental decision found that the segregation of public schools based on students skin color violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The case overturned the precedent set by the Plessy v. Ferguson case from 1896 that established the infamous term “separate but equal”. After the ruling in 1896, segregation of public schools, essentially separating African-American students from white students, was justified in the eyes of the law, provided the facilities were equal. However, it was clear that there would be little equality between black and white facilities and services in public.

Brown v. Board of Education gave African-Americans equality for the first time in United States history since the passing of the 14th amendment. While the amendment, added to the constitution in 1868, may have ended slavery in the nation, it was clear with Jim Crow laws and hate groups such as the K.K.K. that peace would not be freely given to blacks.

The 60-year old decision of Brown v. Board of Education was so monumental when it was decided in 1954 because of the hope it gave to minorities across the country. The Supreme Court justices, representing the highest body of law in the United States government, ruled unanimously that no longer should a child be given a lesser education or be separated from others based on the color of his or her skin.

While in the 21st century, division by race is unthinkable, this atrocity was a tragic reality only 60 years ago.

The Supreme Court properly ruled how unfathomable the concept of “separate but equal” was. There was no equality for blacks in education prior to the desegregation of public schools. This decision was the catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement. Knowing the federal government believed in equality, civil rights advocates further pushed for a more ideal and peaceful society. This sole decision changed the course of civil rights in American history.