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The Road to Brown The Supreme Court and Desegregation from Plessy to Brown and Beyond.

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Presentation on theme: "The Road to Brown The Supreme Court and Desegregation from Plessy to Brown and Beyond."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Road to Brown The Supreme Court and Desegregation from Plessy to Brown and Beyond

2 Plessy v Ferguson (1896) Does not use the phrase separate but equal. Holds that the 14 th Amendment is not violated by a Louisiana law requiring separate carriage facilities for blacks and whites. John Harlan writes a dissent in which he argues the Constitution is colorblind. Plessy good law for 58 years.

3 Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education (1899) Applied Plessy to public school education

4 Gong Lum v Rice (1927) Issue: Does an Asian student have to go to the colored school? Holding: Supreme Court affirms the idea of Separate but Equal

5 The Men Behind the Movement: Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall

6 Pearson v Murray (1936) Md Court of Appeals Issue: Was separate but equal violated if Md did not have a separate law school for blacks but was willing to pay to send qualified blacks to Howard University Law School? Holding: Yes. Maryland must either admit blacks to their law school or the state must provide an equal facility for blacks One of the first cases argued by Thurgood Marshall

7 Murray and his Lawyers

8 Missouri ex rel Gaines v Canada (1938) Issue: Does the State of Missouri have to provide a separate facility for blacks who want to attend law school if the state wants to keep the Univ of Missouri all white? Holding: Yes. The state must provide a separate equal facility

9 Sipuel v Bd of Regents of Oklahoma (1948) When Ada Lois Sipuel was denied entry to law school, the University set up a "class" overnight with 3 instructors, 3 classrooms, and separate access to the law library at the state capital. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this was illegal, and she was finally allowed to enroll. Marshall first questions the continued viability of Plessy Holding: The Court gave a short decision holding that the state had to provide equal education opportunities for blacks as soon as these facilities were available to whites, and did not mention Plessy.

10 Sweatt v Painter (1950) Holding: The Univ of Texas Law School must admit blacks as Texas has no equal facility


12 McLaurin v Oklahoma St Regents (1950) After Sipuel, the State of Oklahoma admitted blacks to graduate schools. However, the state required the instruction to be done in a segregated manner. The plaintiff, McLaurin, had his seat in his classes roped off from other students and was actually seated in the hallway in one class Holding: The separation deprived black students of a key aspect of graduate school, education, which is the interaction between the students and the professor

13 Brown v Bd of Ed (1954) After chipping away at Separate but Equal the NAACP decided to mount a direct challenge to the principle Topeka Kansas schools were actually pretty close to equal. The school board was actually in the process of doing away with separate schools when the case was filed.

14 Brown v Bd Attorneys

15 Brown v Bd (cont) Overturns Plessy. In the context of public school education, separate but equal has no place. Relied on sociological studies that argued blacks thought of themselves as inferior because of segregation. Kenneth Clark Doll studies.

16 Brown cont Segregation of white and colored children in public school has a detrimental effect on the colored children…the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted s denoting the inferiority of the Negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn….

17 Brown II (1955) The Brown Court postponed until the next year how to implement desegregation. The Court concluded that it should be done With all deliberative speed. That language was taken by Southern States that they could stall. Desegregation not really complete until the 1970s (PG County Desegregation suit 1971)

18 Bolling v Sharpe (1954) Companion case to Brown. Held that there is an implied equal protection clause in the 5 th Amendment. Thus DC Public Schools were required to desegregate.

19 Crticism of Brown At the time, Brown was one of the most criticized cases in Sp Court history, and that was by people who agreed with the decision. Southern senators drafted the Southern Manifesto which argued that Brown was contrary to the principles of the Constitution Southern states reacted often violently and resistance to desegregation stiffened. One Virginia school district shut down its schools in response. Other areas refused to desegregate or abide by Court orders to desegregate

20 The Little Rock Nine

21 Cooper v Aaron(1958) The State of Arkansas amended its Constitution to require segregation in response to Brown The Court held that since the Supremacy Clause of Article VI made the U.S. Constitution the supreme law of the land, and because Marbury v. Madison gave the Supreme Court the power of judicial review, then the precedent set forth in Brown v. Board of Education is the supreme law of the land, and is therefore binding on all the states, regardless of any state laws contradicting it.Supremacy Clause Article VIU.S. ConstitutionMarbury v. Madison

22 Boynton v Virginia (1960) Uses Brown as precedent to ban racial segregation in public transportation facilities Freedom rides were organized to test the ruling in the South.


24 Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971) Holding: Court ordered busing is a valid remedy for a School districts refusal to desegregate on its own. Subtly changes the requirement of desegregation to integration

25 Milliken v Bradley (1974) Rejects busing as a remedy to correct segregation found across school district lines

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