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In 1954 The Brown Vs. Board of Education was a landmark case that would change American segregation. Oliver Brown sued his administration in Topeka, Kansas in 1951 after he was denied entrance to an all-white elementary school. He stated that institutions for black children were not equal to the white schools, but also that the segregation violated the “equal protection clause” of the fourteenth amendment.

The case went through the district court there in Kansas and the jury agreed with his statement, stating that, “segregation had a detrimental effect upon the colored children” (pg.174) but somehow it still upheld the separate but equal doctrine. Who knew this court case would allow people to have a voice. By 1952, there were four more cases exactly like Browns, and they combined all of them to create the appellate brief to challenge the ruling of Plessy V. Ferguson. This was the scenario of the original case of Brown Vs. Board of Education (pg. 121).

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Although, the Brown Decision: Immediate Responses and Immediate Consequences is what I used for my primary document. The main point this document is talking about is how segregation is wrong and had damaged all Americans, especially blacks as well as how it really emphasized that in midcentury America, Jim Crow was morally and intellectually indefensible. The point of view, to my knowledge, is after the ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education was made; many blacks were grateful to have ended a lifetime of segregation for them and their kids. Many blacks believed they seen the light and a new life, but there was some who feel as if they were being treated unfairly.

Writer Zora Neale Hurston did not like this change at all and rejected the logic of Brown as self-defeating at best, antiblack at worst. Her perspective was not like the others, she described it as the judges reiterated notions of black inferiority, with its suggestion that black schoolchildren could learn only the best underneath white teachers only while sitting next to the other white schoolchildren. Even though it allowed some segregation to resolve itself, now that black children got to go to the same school as whites the worse was just about to begin. Bullying was about to happen, racial bathrooms for blacks and whites, where blacks got to sit in the classroom and lunch room, many problems were about to arise since this ruling, but nevertheless that will be resolved one day too.

Furthermore, in our United States Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment, states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”” The point of view I’m going to use is my first one from the Brown Vs. Board of Education, and how it talked about segregation with blacks and how they were just guaranteed the privilege to have more freedom within their jurisdiction.

The Fourteenth Amendment protects our right to be natural born citizens, and even those who are not citizens but end up having a child within the United States borders, that child now has the same rights we do to be here and live his/her life anywhere in the United States, although the parent(s) can take the constitutional test and become a legal citizen if they wish to do so. In the fourteenth amendment the second sentence states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This statement applies to everyone, not just U.S. citizens. However, citizenship is a privilege/right to have and many of us take it for granted from time to time.

On the other hand, the white backlash was about white Americans confronting more directly about the depth and ubiquity of their investment in white supremacy. Many states reacted to this by-passing laws mandating racial segregation in every aspect of southern life, from schools, to hospitals, waiting rooms, toilets, and cemeteries. In fact, some states it was forbidden for taxi drivers to pick up multiple races during one shift. Albion W. Tourgee was a judge during the North Carolina reconstruction and had waged a courageous battle against the whites.

Racial segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection before the law, but many whites argued that segregated facilities did not discriminate if they were “separate but equal”. It was more than a form of racial separation, segregation was one part of an all-encompassing system of white domination, unequal economic status, and inferior education. Honestly it was not about keeping the races apart but to make sure that when they did meet each other, whether in politics, labor relations, or social life, whites held the upper hand in most things. Although many blacks could be found in a whites-only railroad cars but that’s only because they entered there as servants and nurses accompanying white passengers, not as paying customers entitled to equal treatment.

In addition, another document that would help you understand how segregation was so wrong is from Voices of Freedom; The National Organization for Women (1966) (pg. 296). The point of view in this document is from a woman who would like to see equal partnership of sexes with the human rights movement that’s taking place within and beyond the national borders. NOW (National Organization for Women) has made a proposition for women to have a chance like everyone in the community to develop the best version of themselves and be unique in every way possible.

Women in this time frame were taking leaps of faith to try and change the social norm for women and make it possible to advance the unfinished revolution of women toward true equality legally and socially. Until now many women’s organization and their spokesmen were wanting to speak out on the behalf of the danger’s women were facing.

Believing that this nation had the capacity as great as any other nations will enable women to enjoy the true equality of opportunity and responsibility in society without the conflicts of their own responsibilities as mothers and homemakers. America does not accept the traditional assumption that women must choose between marriage and motherhood or their dedication to participating in the industry and the professions that come with it. I chose this one because not only can I relate to it, but I can also support this as a woman.

To conclude, Brown. Vs Board of Education made its mark on history for all types of citizens. In each paragraph it shows how the citizenship standard and how the social norm changed for women and African Americans in America. Women were not expected to stay in the home and slave over keeping the house up to date, and African Americans got the chance at a better education while going to a white-only school. The citizenship in America changed for future generations to come and will continue to be the land of opportunity.

Citations

  1. Brown Fifty Years and Beyond: Promise and Progress: NAACP Commemorates 50 Years, 1954-2004 Brown vs. Board of Education. Baltimore, MD: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 2004.
  2. Foner, Eric. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History.”
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