Brown v. Board of Education
In the years leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, public schools were both unequal and racially segregated—by law in the South and in practice in the Northeast and West. In 1950, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), long concerned with education, decided to mount a direct challenge to state-sanctioned segregation in schooling. The result was the Brown case, which joined together lawsuits begun by Black parents and students in Delaware, Washington, D.C., South Carolina, Virginia, and Kansas. Many of these plaintiffs paid a price for their advocacy. Indeed, the NAACP struggled to find Black parents willing to join lawsuits, given the possibility that workers would be fired from their jobs and their children attacked on the streets. In its 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that “separate educational facilities” for Black and White Plessy ...