The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case took place on May 17th, 1954. Linda Carol Brown was a seven year old girl that became the center of this major court case. Linda was required to attend Monroe School in East Topeka because it was twenty blocks away from her home and because it was an all-black school. After her father attempted to enroll her in a further away all-white school and was refused, he teamed up with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the unfair refusal. This lawsuit, along with many similar ones, were under the heading of "Brown v. Board of Education".
This case was the result of four cases that came about 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 to certain public schools based on laws allowing public education to be segregated by race. They argued that the segregation violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Brown v Board of Education case consisted of 5 lower courts which were Murray v. Maryland, Missouri ex el Gaines v. Canada, Sweat v. Painter, McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education, and Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court conjoined all of the cases under Brown v. Board of Education.
The petitioner's arguments included the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, that psychological studies have shown that segregation has negative effects on black children, that the facilities were not equally represented.
The respondent's arguments included that the Fourteenth Amendment states that people should be treated equally; it does not state that people should be treated the same, no psychological studies have been done on children in the Topeka, Kansas school district, and the United States has a federal system of government that leaves educational decision making to state and local legislatures.
The petitioner wants an equal education and an equal atmosphere for those of any race when attending school.
The federal district court dismissed the Browns' claim, ruling that the segregated public schools were equal enough to be constitutional under the Plessy doctrine. Brown appealed to the Supreme Court, which reviewed all the school segregation actions together. Thurgood Marshall, who would in 1967 be appointed the first black justice of the Court, was chief counsel for the plaintiffs.
On May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous ruling in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. State-sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment and was therefore unconstitutional.
The majority justices were Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Clark, and Minton. Earl Warren wrote the majority opinion. It states that opportunity for education should be a right for all people and that separate facilities are not equal. There were no concurrent opinions on this case and the vote was unanimous with an outcome of 9-0.
Justice Harlan's dissent for the Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 was became the viewpoint for the Brown v. Board of Education case that overturned the idea. The dissent stated that segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment because it used the law to sanction inequality among races.
This case has continued to be relevant and schools have been segregated since that time.