Muhammad Umair

Oct 22, 2017

African-American people were tired of racial segregation in the US. Just a year before the beginning of African-American Civil Rights Movement, a landmark decree was issued in a case. It was 1951 when 13 parents of 20 children filed a petition in the District Court of Kansas against the Board of Education of Topeka. This suit was sponsored by NAACP (National Association for Advancement of Colored People). The suit was once again against the racial segregation in the public schools of Topeka city.

One of the 13 plaintiffs was Oliver L. Brown. He was a pastor at a local church and an African-American. His daughter Linda was student of third grade who used to reach her school by walking 1.6 kilometers. The school was specified for African-American children. In fact, she could not go in the school which was just seven blocks away from her home only because it was for white children. The case has been given the name after Brown because he was representing all the plaintiffs in the court.

Unfortunately, the District Court of Kansas used the previous case ‘Plessey vs. Ferguson’ as a precedent and gave the same decision. The court upheld the act of racial segregation of the education board as it was being done under the ‘Separate but Equal’ doctrine and the act of the state’s legislature.

The appeal for reviewing this decision went to the Supreme Court of United States of America. It was heard in 1953 there. The decision which the apex court gave was astonishing for the entire American social system which was completely based on the racial segregation. The 9-0 decision of the court favored the plaintiff and declared the racial segregation void in all the public schools of the United States. It was held that, “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘Separate but Equal’ has no place.” It also declared that, “Even equal segregation with equal opportunities and quality of life; still it is harmful for the black students.”

This case declared the previously observed precedent as void and set a new pattern in the american social system. This decision upheld the due process of law and equal protection of rights but it was too late to prevent the great civil rights movement under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.

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