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Historical Perspective of "To Kill a Mockingbird": Brown vs. Board of Education

8th Grade Human Rights Novel Study. Getting a historical perspective.

US History in Context - Image

Citation Link - Powe Jr., Lucas A. "Brown v. Board of Education (Brown II), 349 U.S. 294 (1955)." Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, edited by David S. Tanenhaus, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2008, pp. 215-217. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

Encyc Britanicanica

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, case in which on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously (9–0) that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the states from denying equal protection of the laws to any person within their jurisdictions. The decision declared that separate educational facilities for white and African American students were inherently unequal. It thus rejected as inapplicable to public education the “separate but equal” doctrine, advanced by the Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), according to which laws mandating separate public facilities for whites and African Americans do not violate the equal-protection clause if the facilities are approximately equal. Although the 1954 decision strictly applied only to public schools, it implied that segregation was not permissible in other public facilities. Considered one of the most important rulings in the court’s history, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka helped to inspire the American civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Citation Link "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 31 Aug. 2011. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.

Brown Vs Board of Education

Following the link to the Video - Citation Link - "Black History: Brown vs Board of Education: Separate is Not Equal." Black History: Brown vs Board of Education: Separate is Not Equal, 2009. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.


US History in Context

On May 19, 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed separate public schools for black and white schoolchildren in the celebrated Brown v. Board of Education decision (Brown I), one of the most important high court rulings in American history. A year later the same court ruled in its implementation decree (Brown II) that the process of creating integrated schools out of formerly all-white and all-black public schools had to go forward "with all deliberate speed." The Browndecision (parts I and II) was the culmination of a series of concerted legal battles against Jim Crow schools and other forms of American apartheid, such as separate public transportation and separate public accommodations. Spearheaded by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's legal team and its head lawyer Thurgood Marshall these legal battles were crucial to the growing mid-twentieth-century civil rights movement.

Brown proved crucial to the assault on the entire edifice of separate black and white worlds in the Jim Crow South


Watson Grandchildren (also known as Black Children with White Doll, 1942), Gordon Parks. Reformers such as psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark argued that the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson was anything but equal. The Clarks' work showed that segregation reinforced notions of white supremacy to the point that black children preferred playing with white dolls over dolls of their own color.© CORBIS.

and beyond. At the end of the nineteenth century, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) had established the legal fiction of separate black and white worlds as equivalent and, thus, constitutional. Separate was rarely equal, as evidenced in the woeful and systemic underfunding of black schools and discriminatory pay for black teachers. By overturning the guiding legal precedent as established in Plessy, Brown promised a new day: a fully integrated society beginning with the nation's schools.

Citation Link - MARTIN, WALDO E., Jr. "Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas." Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society, edited by Paula S. Fass, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, pp. 121-122. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.