Fourteenth Amendment – Brown V. Board of Education

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On May 17, 1954 there was a major case that changed the future of the United States greatly. Not only just the case that occured on that date, but many other cases that came up that changed history with a certain amendment that was used in each one of these cases. For example, Brown v. Board of Education.

This case was able to use the Fourteenth Amendment to give rights to people who did not have the rights that other people had. The Fourteenth Amendment addresses many rights that a citizen receives for being born in the United States.

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The Fourteenth Amendment contains five different sections which addresses many rights that a person receives for being born in the United States. All five sections explain all those rights.

The Fourteenth Amendment is very similar to the Bill of Rights because the Fourteenth Amendment is also known as the Second Bill of Rights. It protects the privileges and immunities of one’s citizenship. It was ratified in 1868 after the American Civil War along with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendment also known as the Reconstruction Amendments. It was passed by the Congress on June 13, 1866 and was finally ratified on July 9, 1868.

When it was ratified, it changed a part of Article 1, Section 2. Also, the Fourteenth Amendment had a piece changed when the 26th Amendment was ratified. The Fourteenth Amendment removed three-fourths of the rules that were put against African-Americans and three-fourths of the states also ratified the Fourteenth Amendment. This amendment turned the tide in many cases like Brown v. Board of Education.

In this court case, segregation in schools was being argued to be removed. African American students were kept separate from white students at school. They had to use different bathrooms and drink from different water fountains and kept away from the other students if they were not African American. This made it hard for these students to continue their academics because of the segregation occurring in schools African American students attended. Segregation in schools lasted for a while before African Americans decided to fight for rights to not be segregated.

The Fourteenth Amendment was used to give these people the same rights that everyone else had. Brown v. Board of Education took action when a young girl named Linda Brown was denied enrollment to Topeka’s all white elementary school. This sparked the beginning of the court case. A man named Oliver Brown filed a class-action suit against the school that denied Linda Brown’s entry into the elementary school.

According to Editors, Oliver Brown claimed that being denied entry into the school violated their Fourteenth Amendment because there was no “equal protection clause” which holds that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. As this case progressed, it was decided that the segregation had a negative effect on the learning of the African American students.

A similar problem occurred with a well known group of students called The Little Rock Nine. This case was known as Brown v. Board of Education II. The Little Rock Nine, who were a group of young black students, were able to gain entry into Central High School with the aid of federal troops assigned by President Eisenhower. During this process, mobs of angry white parents and students surrounded the Little Rock Nine to deny entry into the school.

This caused Elizabeth Eckford to be surrounded by a horde of upset white people. Eckford was pushed and spat on in the middle of the assemblage without aid of the troops, after she failed to understand the carpool plans. Multiple tragedies happened to the Little Rock Nine throughout their enrollment, much like Eckford, Melba Pattillo was horribly beaten and had acid thrown at her face. Not only were they being harrassed, the Little Rock Nine were d
enied entry into any of the extracurricular activities.

After all the brutality that the Little Rock Nine endured, Ernest Green was the first African American student to graduate from Central High School. September 1958, all of Little Rock high schools were shut down by Governor Faubus. According to, “. . .pending a public vote, to prevent African-American attendance. Little Rock citizens voted 19,470 to 7,561 against integration and the schools remained closed.” Although the Little Rock Nine were unable to complete their studies at Central High, they were able to complete the rest of their academics at other schools.

Another major movement that helped with the Fourteenth amendment was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1955 Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African-America woman, decided to stay in the front of a bus which had a strict rule known as “Negroes-in-back,” policy. With that being said, Parks remained seated in the “white” section after being asked to stand and give her seat to a white man. A quote from states, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired,” wrote Parks in her autobiography, “but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”. Parks was later removed from the stopped bus by two officers and was put into custody.

After Parks was released on bail, a man named E.D. Nixon was waiting for her that evening and suggested that Parks assist him in a case that could backfire against segregation laws. Although it took some time, Nixon was able to convince Parks would be able to change the segregation laws. With Parks on board, 35,000 flyers were sent home with young black students to advise their parents of the boycott. It was not until December 5, Parks’ court appearance, that she was found guilty for breaching the segregation laws. Nixon and some ministers formed a group known as the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and elected Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as their MIA president. According to, “On November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional; the boycott ended December 20, a day after the Court’s written order arrived in Montgomery. Parks—who had lost her job and experienced harassment all year—became known as “the mother of the civil rights movement.”.

Loving v. Virginia stated that interracial marriages were still banned by sixteen states, which meant that Mildred and Richard Loving, a black and white couple, were unable to get married in the state of Virginia. With the hopes of marriage, the couple decide to go to Washington D.C. where their marriage could be a reality. Unfortunately, they were arrested and put on trial by a state law that denied interracial marriage before they could leave Virginia. The judge on the trial decided that instead of giving them a one year prison sentence, the judge decided to adjourn their sentence for twenty-five years if the couple would leave Virginia. In a unanimous vote, the United States Supreme Court were able to turn around Virginia’s ruling on the case, and stated that the Equal Protection Clause apply to the Loving v. Virginia. After further inspection the court stated that the law that prevented interracial marriage was, “invidious racial discrimination,” and this case was able to make a big impact on the Civil Rights Movement.

The Civil Rights Movement played a big role that involved the Fourteenth Amendment. People who participated in this movement were attempting to achieve equal rights for everyone. With the help of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., these rights as a citizen was able to be given to them which changed the future of the United States of America forever.

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Fourteenth Amendment - Brown v. Board of Education. (2021, May 14). Retrieved from