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Brown v. Board of Education

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Presentation on theme: "Brown v. Board of Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 Brown v. Board of Education
Separate But Equal?

2 Jim Crow was the name of a black character in a minstrel show
Jim Crow was the name of a black character in a minstrel show. The term was used to signify the laws and customs of segregation.

3 Strategies to Segregate
Poll Taxes-After the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, many Southern states enacted poll tax laws. These required each voter to pay a tax to vote. There was a grandfather clause written in so that anyone whose ancestors had voted could vote for free. The poll tax was used against poor blacks as a means to prevent them from voting. Literacy Tests-This refers to the practice of testing the literacy of citizens as a requirement of voting in Southern states. Citizens would be required to read a section of the Bible or any other book before being allowed to vote. A grandfather clause was written into this law too so that white citizens whom are unable to read could still vote.

4 The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a secret society created in 1865
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a secret society created in Members rode around whipping, burning and lynching thousands of African Americans.

5 Plessy v Ferguson Homer Plessy sued the state of Louisiana for jailing him because he refused to sit in a railroad car reserved for blacks only. He lost his case. The Supreme Court established a “separate but equal” policy which would guide racial relations for sixty years.

6 “Separate but Equal”

7 Jim Crow Schools Most schools had no desks or chairs. The books were often worn out and outdated (if there were books!). Many buildings were falling apart and were unsafe. Teachers were qualified, but only African Americans could teach black children. Teaching materials were poor or nonexistent.

8 Separate but Equal???

9 White children from the Summerton area attended this red brick building with a separate lunchroom and science laboratories. 61 “colored” schools were also located in Summerton. Most held one or two classrooms.

10 Schools lacked electricity, running water and bathrooms.
Heat was a luxury many schools did not have.

11 TOPEKA, KANSAS 8 year old Linda Brown and her two sisters had to walk six blocks to get to school. They had to cross busy railroad tracks and wait for a rickety old bus to take them to school even though there was a new neighborhood school closer to her home.

12 In 1953 there were 21 states with segregated schools
In 1953 there were 21 states with segregated schools. In Virginia black students protested overcrowded conditions. In South Carolina parents sued the schools for equal funding for white and black students. Two cases from Delaware and Washington DC also found their way to the US Supreme Court. The cases were all joined together under the name Brown v. Board of Education

13 The NAACP decided to challenge school segregation and Thurgood Marshall was selected as the lawyer to lead the cause.

14 Testing documents Children were asked to color one of the figures to look “like yourself” and the other “how you would like little children to be.” Fifty-two percent colored the other child white or an irrelevant color.

15 The Segregationists’ Arguments
SUPREME COURT ARGUMENTS The Segregationists’ Arguments The Constitution did not require white and African American children to attend the same schools. Social separation of blacks and whites was a regional custom; the states should be left free to regulate their own social affairs. 3. Segregation was not harmful to black people. Whites were making a good faith effort to equalize the two educational systems. But because black children were still living with the effects of slavery, it would take some time before they were able to compete with white children in the same classroom.

The Integrationists’ Arguments In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court had misinterpreted the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Equal protection of the laws did not allow for racial segregation. The Fourteenth Amendment allowed the government to prohibit any discriminatory state action based on race, including segregation in public schools. The Fourteenth Amendment did not specify whether the states would be allowed to establish segregated education. Psychological testing demonstrated the harmful effects of segregation on the minds of African American children.

17 THE LANDMARK DECISION Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group...Any language in contrary to this finding is rejected. We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. —Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

18 Reaction to the Decision
Southerners President Eisenhower Calling it “Black Monday”, they swore to reject it. A Southern Manifesto was written condemning the decision. “We regard the decision of the Supreme Court in the school cases as a clear abuse of judicial power.” Failed to take a solid moral stance in the case Refused to say segregation was morally wrong “All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes”- in conversation with Chief Justice Earl Warren

19 Brown II- May 31, 1955 A cautious approach to implementing desegregation was decided upon by the court Brown II asked southerners to draw up desegregation plans “with all deliberate speed”, which meant no speed at all to those resisting By 1960, fewer than 1% of the South’s black students went to integrated schools (would take 7000 years at that rate!)

20 Little Rock Nine Little Rock had integrated buses, parks, libraries etc. Nine black students were selected to attend Little Rock Central High School Gov. Faubus sent the Arkansas National Guard- not to protect the students, but to keep them from entering the building

21 “2-4-6-8, we ain’t gonna integrate”
“Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts”- Eisenhower

22 Ruby Bridges- New Orleans 1960

23 James Meredith University of Mississippi 1962


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