Brown V. Board of Education: Summary & Ruling

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The Brown V. Board of Education civil suit was a landmark case that was presided over in the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 to determine five matters consolidated on appeals from 200 African American children from the States of Kansas. The case was initially filed as a class suit for the sake of 20 minors against the Board of Education in the District Court for Kansas. The named petitioner in the case was the parent of a third grader in Monroe Elementary school, Linda Brown. The child was denied admission to a Summer Elementary school near her home. The local Board of Education, local public authorities and public officials were the respondent parties named by the applicants in all the compiled cases. Each applicant was refused admission to public schools attended by white children. The applicants sought the assistance of the court to be allowed entry into public schools without segregation . This study describes the impact of Brown v. Board of Education on education rights in the United States. Additionally, it aims to establish the effects of the case on other laws such as bus laws and segregation laws.

The applicants of the case faced institutional discrimination based on their skin color, which was widespread in the US at that time. The court considered the impacts of segregation on public education. Therefore, the court determined that separating the children of black families from others of the same age and with similar qualifications based on their race implied their inferiority in status, which could significantly affect their minds and hearts in permanent ways. The doctrine of separate but equal previously applied in public schools was overruled as different educational facilities inherently lacked equality. The court found that denial of the equal protection provided for in the Fourteenth Amendment clause on the equal opportunity had occurred and the segregation applied in public schools was, therefore, unconstitutional.

Impact of Educational Rights

The decision of the Supreme Court in outlawing discrimination in public schools based on race had a significant impact on issues regarding racial equality. Elimination of separation in public educational facilities enabled the removal of the racial stigma that was caused by segregation and enhanced educational equity. Desegregation contributed to the reduction of ethnic and racial stigma. It allowed the achievement of a level of equality for the people of color in American society. Denial of opportunities to students based on their skin color cut them off from opportunities to achieve success through education.

Educational rights facilitated by the Brown case included the freedom of parents to choose schools they could enroll their children. The case enabled a transition into a school system that was not racially discriminatory. Integration of pupils in public schools implies equality in the education rights of every child. In 1964, 2.14% of African American children attended seven of the eleven desegregated schools in Southern states. Despite initial resistance, progress occurred in states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and West Virginia. In the case of Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education (1964), the Supreme Court ordered every district school to eliminate the duality in school systems and operate as unitary schools to reinforce the decision of the Brown V. Board case. The Supreme Court ruling that upheld the use of busing upheld in Swann v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971) achieved desegregation in public school education.

Desegregation enabled the establishment of public schools with racial diversity that created opportunities for children from different ethnic or racial backgrounds. Cross-racial interaction enabled individuals with diverse racial backgrounds to successfully learn and eventually worked together. The Brown case allowed the establishment of diversity in school experiences, which facilitated the development of trust between individuals from different races. The achievements of African American children were enhanced by the availability of diversely skilled educators, enough school funding and equality in access to facilities and curricular materials in integrated schools.

Determination of segregation mandated by the state as unconstitutional and a violation of the rights of African American children to access equal education opportunities provided for their white counterparts occurred. The Supreme Court required pursuance of integration by local governments with deliberate speed. Some states, thus, made earnest efforts to integrate admission of students while others delayed integration by referring to the “deliberate speed” provision. For instance, Little Rock in Arkansas only complied with the integration rule after the National Guard was mobilized by the government to enforce it.

Emphasis on prompt admission was achieved through the decision of the Supreme Court in Florida ex rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control. The case involved the acceptance of an African American student to a graduate professional school. The court indicated that there was no reason for delaying the entry of the student in the school as he was liable to get an immediate admission according to the rules and procedures that apply to qualified applicants from other ethnic or racial descent. The application of the principle of deliberate speed was, thus, eliminated at the college level as time was of the essence. Determination of the right to education as a federally protected right that could not be deterred by the desires of school administration boards and state officials also occurred.

Desegregation led to the inclusion of black history and culture into the curricula and provision of equal facilities and equal funding for all schools in the United States. The availability of racially balanced education institutions boosted the academic achievements of minority populations through access to standardized tests. The whites and African Americans who went to integrated schools were more likely to work and live in integrated settings in the future. Desegregation also enabled the availability of qualified teachers in public schools as the salaries for white and African American teachers were standardized to achieve equality. White students learned the history and culture of black populations in the curricula developed for integrated schools. African American students benefited from learning from teachers with diverse ethnic or racial backgrounds as they acquired knowledge of the cultures and history of other populations in the United States. Racial balance in educational settings enhanced the learning opportunities and experiences of students with diverse ethnic or racial backgrounds in the United States.

The decision in the Brown v. Board case gets criticized for not creating a better education system that apportioned a distinct advantage to all students in public schools. Desegregation did not avail a cure for all inequalities that existed in the education sector at the time. Integration of the schools did not necessarily avail improved learning environments as the court did not provide for the elimination of social conflicts by the leaders in the states and school administration. While the court successfully prohibited racial oppression, racial conflict was still prevalent at the time, which led to schools in varying states to gradually implement the integration rule without consideration for the needs of the African American students.

The decision in Milliken v. Bradley in 1974 established that the previous decision failed to provide requirements for inclusion of suburban schools in the desegregation plans in Detroit public schools without proof of the intent to foster segregation based on neighborhood boundaries. The ruling of the Detroit District court constrained the implementation of the rule to eliminate separation in public schools in the district without considering its necessity. However, such erosion on the ruling that enabled desegregation in the United States did not deter the courts from making determinations that significantly affected the administration of criminal justice through the enactment of legislation promoting civil rights, racial relations, and political processes like voting.

Impact of the case on other public facilities

The decision of the Supreme Court in the Brown V. Board paved the way for the implementation of desegregation in facilities at the municipal and state levels of government. The determination of the court formed the basis for the prohibition of segregation in public parks, municipal golf courses, courthouses, public bathing beaches, and restaurants located on state properties. The laws provided in statutes requiring the separation in privately owned facilities that were accessed by the public were declared unconstitutional. The court struck down statutory discrimination implied in state legislation that required the designation of the race of candidates in ballots. In Anderson v. Martin, the court declared the statute as discriminatory against African Americans as it violated the equal protection clause provided by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Brown v. Board case led to the enactment of legislation at the state and federal levels of government to enhance the protection of the civil rights of African Americans. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are some of the federal legislation inspired by the Brown case. The Acts facilitated the implementation of rights in areas of association, equality in treatment in public facilities like transport systems and recreational establishments. The wisdom implied by the decision of the Brown v. Board case facilitated the discouraging and attempts to eliminate practices in segregation that were deeply rooted in American society at the time. The opinions embedded in the Brown case facilitated the implementation of equal access to liberty and justice in endless ways.

The Civil Rights Act provided injunctive relief for discrimination based on color, race, national origin, color, and in establishments for public accommodation like hotels, sports arenas, restaurants, theatres, houses for motion pictures and concert halls. The judges verified the Act in the unanimous decision made in Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. the United States. In Katzenbach v. McClung, the Supreme Court reinforced the constitutionality of Title II of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 by reversing the decision of the United States District Court in Alabama. The District Court had declared Title II of the Act as unconstitutional. The Title prohibited racial discrimination by restaurants that participated in interstate commerce by serving food and offering services to interstate travelers. The Supreme Court held that Title II of the Act entailed a constitutional exercise of the commerce clause. The civil rights laws also led to the abolishment of discrimination in employment due to race or ethnicity.

The Brown case led to the acceleration of civil rights movements established in the 1960s. The case facilitated a surge in the consciousness of rights across the United States since the 1960s and remains essential in the United States to date. The case promoted the development of judicial activism by the courts as activist judges articulated their support for claims established by rights-conscious groups in their decisions. As such, judges participated in advancing the freedoms and entitlements of African Americans.

The inspiration for the decision was the Montgomery bus-boycott movement that occurred in 1955. Black activists voiced their complaints regarding the practices of Montgomery City Lines, a chartered bus company regulated by the municipal. The company racially discriminated blacks who had to stand and scramble over seats designated for whites. The situation was shameful, insulting and problematic. African Americans were also forced to board the buses through the rear door. The buses failed to stop in African American neighborhoods but stopped after every block in the sections where whites lived. The boycott was intended to demand elimination of the practice of segregation in buses as it contradicted the Fourteenth Amendment that provided for equal treatment of all citizens in the United States.

The boycott continued for several months and ended when the Supreme Court made the decision that prohibited the practice of segregation in public transport. Even though enforcement of the Court’s ruling was not immediate in Montgomery, the African Americans considered it as a victory as the integration in public transport was now imminent. Integration completely occurred on December 21, 1955, leading to the conclusion of the boycott. African Americans were no longer required to give up their seats for whites and could sit in the front and rear areas of the buses without discrimination. The integration was not accepted by whites immediately as blacks faced threats by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Some African Americans got injured in shootings and bombings caused by White Supremacist groups. The atmosphere eased when the members violating the ruling by the Supreme Court got arrested.

In conclusion, the Brown v. Board case had a transformative influence on the elimination of racial oppression in the United States as it eliminated the capacity of whites to maintain significant social boundaries in society. Dismissal of the notion of racial hierarchy in the legalized systems through the subsequent decisions made by courts prohibiting segregation and ideals promoted by Jim Crow rules occurred. Segregated education and access to public amenities were no longer considered viable. The Brown case and the cases that preceded it indicate the struggle endured by African Americans is acquiring equal rights in the U.S. Constitution. As mentioned in this paper, African American civil activities did not attain civil rights easily. The struggle involved mobilization of the populations at the grassroots level, political upheavals, court battles in pursuit to overturn discriminatory rulings like “separate but equal” and Jim Crow rules that divided the nation. As such, the Brown v. Board case contributed to the achievement of education, civil and voting rights by the African Americans and significantly limited the practice of racial oppression in American public spheres.

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Brown v. Board of Education: Summary & Ruling. (2021, Mar 16). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/brown-v-board-of-education-summary-ruling/

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