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Brown v. Board of Education - Research Paper Example

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[Author’s Name] [Class] 24 April 2011 Brown v. Board of Education Introduction This work is aimed to look back at the Brown case of 1954 to try to investigate its influence on the struggle for civil rights as well as on the U.S. laws and Constitution…
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Brown v. Board of Education
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Download file to see previous pages The complainants were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their twenty children” (Patterson, 2001). They wanted the school segregation – separate schools for white and black pupils as it was recommended (but not required) by the 1879 Kansas law - to be abolished in Topeka. The named complainant was Oliver Brown, whose friend convinced him to join the suit. His third-grade daughter Linda had to attend the school for black children far away that situated far from her house, while the one for white children was close. The District Court ruled in favor of the Board of Education grounding its decision by the decision of U.S. Supreme Court set in Plessy v. Ferguson case (1896), according to which the schools had to be “separated but equal” (means equal in facilities). In 1954 the case was reargued in the Supreme Court. The question was not whether the educational establishments for children with different color of skin offered "equal" opportunities, but whether the policy of separate schools for black and white children answered to the Constitution. The justices answered with a strong "no": “Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system... We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place” (Patterson, 2001). The decision publicized on May 17, 1954 appeared for be the victory for black people. The government stated that the white and black children will be able to attend the same schools by 1963. Ralph Ellison wrote: “What a wonderful world of possibilities is unfolded for the children” (cited in Rosenberg 1991). From the first sight it seems that Brown is one of the decisive moments in American history. However, the more one investigates the issue, the more doubts arise. The question is has Brown case been really so important in achieving those wonderful things Ellison wrote about? I would like to focus on only two key legacies of the case: its influence on the struggle of black people for their rights and its influence on desegregation of educational establishments for black and white pupils and the quality of education in these establishments. From the first sight it seems that Brown case impact on the civil rights movement is very clear as it served as the stimulus for the well-known Montgomery school bus boycott. Another milestone was the Little Rock case happened in 1957. The Supreme Court decision made President Dwight Eisenhower involve the troops to enforce it, which was a token of desegregation. But even this token would never take place if not Brown case. At the seventh anniversary of Brown, on May 17, 1961 in New Orleans the Freedom Rides were scheduled to come. His timing is another evidence of symbolic value of Brown case decision. Unfortunately they did not reach New Orleans in time due to strong opposition. Well-known black students’ sit-ins in Greensboro were inspired by desegregation of the schools in the South between 1954 and 1960. So, as we can see there was a chain of causations. However, some historians and among them Gerald Rosenberg, think that Brown case has not made such a considerable impact on the escalation of the struggle for civil rights in late 1950s or 1960s. He indicates that the press gave too little attention to Brown case in general ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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