Sunday, May 17, 2009

Celebrate diversity: 55 years since Brown vs Board

58 years ago, in Topeka, Kansas, a lawsuit was brought against the Board of Education by 13 parents on behalf of 20 children according to

On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parents, granting African American students the right to attend any public school.

The case originates in Topeka, when a young African American girl named Linda Brown, was told she could not attend a public school close to her home. Instead, she was sent to an "All blacks" school nearly an hour away.

Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that the "separate but equal" doctrine was in clear violation of the 14th amendment "which guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws."

The parents involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case weren't the only to petition the government regarding segregation.

In the late 1800s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that having segregated railroad cars conformed to the 14th amendment in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. This ruling was impacting to the state of Kansas because it declared that all public locations were justifiably segregated.

Five different cases originating from five different states (Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC) with 200 plus plaintiffs were combined under the Brown v. Board case, which created a domino-effect across the nation which begged for social change.
Women protesting Brown v. Board: "We like you, but we don't want you in our school". Flickr photo by Techne.

According to the History Channel Web site, the U.S. Supreme Court required public schools to "integrate with all deliberate speed."

Today, residents in Topeka, Kansas, celebrated the courts ruling. Linda Brown just happened to be one of those attending.

"How much it's meant to so many people all over the United States, not only all over the United States but the entire world," Linda Brown said.

Without the Brown v. Board act, we would not be able to appreciate the great diversity our world has to offer. Open minds would be fewer,hatred would perhaps run rampant and we wouldn't be celebrating our first black president.

Fortunately, US history has proven that people will always stand up for the greater good, and our constitution will be there to back them up.

Map provided by Google.

To view a short clip of "This day in History" click here. Provided by

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