BackgroundFor much of the sixty years preceding the ''Brown'' case, in the United States had been dominated by . Such state policies had been endorsed by the ruling in '' Plessy v. Ferguson'' (1896), which held that as long as the separate facilities for separate races were equal, state segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment ("no State shall ... deny to any person ... the equal protection of the laws"). Racial segregation in education varied widely from the 17 that required racial segregation to the 16 in which it was prohibited. Beginning in the 1930s, a legal strategy was pursued, led by scholars at and activists at the , that sought to undermine states' public education segregation by first focusing on the setting. This led to success in the cases of '' '', 64 F.Supp. 544 (C.D. Cal. 1946), '' '', 339 U.S. 629 (1950) and '' '', 339 U.S. 637 (1950), suggesting that racial segregation was inherently unequal (at least in some settings), which paved the way for ''Brown''. The in ''Brown'' asserted that the system of in all schools, while masquerading as providing separate but equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations, services, and treatment for black Americans. ''Brown'' was influenced by 's 1950 Statement, signed by a wide variety of internationally renowned scholars, titled '' ''. This declaration denounced previous as well as morally condemning racism. Another work that the Supreme Court cited was 's '' '' (1944). Myrdal had been a signatory of the UNESCO declaration. The United States and the were both at the height of the during this time, and U.S. officials, including Supreme Court Justices, were highly aware of the harm that segregation and racism were doing to America's international image. When Justice traveled to in 1950, the first question he was asked was, "Why does America tolerate the lynching of Negroes?" Douglas later wrote that he had learned from his travels that "the attitude of the United States toward its colored minorities is a powerful factor in our relations with India." Chief Justice , nominated to the Supreme Court by , echoed Douglas's concerns in a 1954 speech to the American Bar Association, proclaiming that "Our American system like all others is on trial both at home and abroad, ... the extent to which we maintain the spirit of our constitution with its Bill of Rights, will in the long run do more to make it both secure and the object of adulation than the number of hydrogen bombs we stockpile."
District court case
Filing and argumentsIn 1951, a suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of in the . The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their 20 children. The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation. The Topeka Board of Education operated separate elementary schools due to a 1879 Kansas law, which permitted (but did not require) districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in 12 communities with populations over 15,000. The plaintiffs had been recruited by the leadership of the Topeka . Notable among the Topeka NAACP leaders were the chairman ; Charles Scott, one of three serving as legal counsel for the chapter; and . The named African American plaintiff, , was a parent, a welder in the shops of the , as well as an assistant pastor at his local church. He was convinced to join the lawsuit by a childhood friend, Scott. Brown's daughter , a third grader, had to walk six blocks to her school bus stop to ride to , her segregated black school one mile (1.6 km) away, while , a white school, was seven blocks from her house. As directed by the NAACP leadership, the parents each attempted to enroll their children in the closest neighborhood school in the fall of 1951. They were each refused enrollment and redirected to the segregated schools. The case "Oliver Brown et al. v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas" was named after Oliver Brown as a legal strategy to have a man at the head of the roster. The lawyers, and the National Chapter of the NAACP, also felt that having Mr. Brown at the head of the roster would be better received by the U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The 13 plaintiffs were: Oliver Brown, Darlene Brown, Lena Carper, Sadie Emmanuel, Marguerite Emerson, Shirley Fleming, , Shirley Hodison, Maude Lawton, Alma Lewis, Iona Richardson, and Lucinda Todd. The last surviving plaintiff, Zelma Henderson, died in Topeka, on May 20, 2008, at age 88. The District Court ruled in favor of the Board of Education, citing the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in '' Plessy v. Ferguson'', , which had upheld a state law requiring "separate but equal" segregated facilities for blacks and whites in railway cars. The three-judge District Court panel found that segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on children, but denied relief on the ground that the negro and white schools in Topeka were substantially equal with respect to buildings, transportation, curricula, and educational qualifications of teachers.
Supreme Court argumentsThe case of ''Brown v. Board of Education'' as heard before the Supreme Court combined five cases: ''Brown'' itself, '' '' (filed in ), '' '' (filed in ), '' '' (filed in ), and '' '' (filed in ). All were NAACP-sponsored cases. The ''Davis'' case, the only case of the five originating from a student protest, began when 16-year-old organized and led a 450-student walkout of . The ''Gebhart'' case was the only one where a trial court, affirmed by the , found that discrimination was unlawful; in all the other cases the plaintiffs had lost as the original courts had found discrimination to be lawful. The Kansas case was unique among the group in that there was no contention of gross inferiority of the segregated schools' physical plant, curriculum, or staff. The district court found substantial equality as to all such factors. The lower court, in its opinion, noted that, in Topeka, "the physical facilities, the curricula, courses of study, qualification and quality of teachers, as well as other educational facilities in the two sets of schools comparable."''Brown'', 98 F. Supp. at 798. The lower court observed that "colored children in many instances are required to travel much greater distances than they would be required to travel could they attend a white school" but also noted that the school district "transports colored children to and from school free of charge" and that "no such service provided to white children." In the Delaware case the district court judge in ''Gebhart'' ordered that the black students be admitted to the white high school due to the substantial harm of segregation and the differences that made the separate schools unequal. Under the leadership of , the donated $75,000 to help pay for the NAACP's efforts at the Supreme Court. The NAACP's chief counsel, —who was later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967—argued the case before the Supreme Court for the plaintiffs. Assistant attorney general Paul Wilson—later distinguished emeritus professor of law at the —conducted the state's ambivalent defense in his first appellate argument. In December 1952, the filed a in the case. The brief was unusual in its heavy emphasis on considerations of the in a case ostensibly about domestic issues. Of the seven pages covering "the interest of the United States," five focused on the way school segregation hurt the United States in the Cold War competition for the friendship and allegiance of non-white peoples in countries then gaining independence from colonial rule. Attorney General noted that The brief also quoted a letter by lamenting that British barrister and parliamentarian has written that "Although the Court's opinion in ''Brown'' made no reference to these considerations of foreign policy, there is no doubt that they significantly influenced the decision."
Consensus buildingIn spring 1953, the Court heard the case but was unable to decide the issue and asked to rehear the case in fall 1953, with special attention to whether the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause prohibited the operation of separate public schools for whites and blacks. The Court reargued the case at the behest of Associate Justice , who used reargument as a stalling tactic, to allow the Court to gather a consensus around a ''Brown'' opinion that would outlaw segregation. The justices in support of desegregation spent much effort convincing those who initially intended to dissent to join a unanimous opinion. Although the legal effect would be same for a majority rather than unanimous decision, it was felt that dissent could be used by segregation supporters as a legitimizing counter-argument. Conference notes and draft decisions illustrate the division of opinions before the decision was issued. Justices , , , and were predisposed to overturn ''Plessy''. Chief Justice Vinson had been a key stumbling block. After Vinson died in September 1953, President Warren had supported the integration of Mexican-American students in California school systems following ''
DecisionOn May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous 9–0 decision in favor of the Brown family and the other plaintiffs. The decision consists of a single opinion written by , which all the justices joined. The Court's opinion began by noting that it had tried to determine whether the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to abolish segregation in public education—even hearing a second round of oral arguments from the parties' lawyers specifically on the historical sources—but to no avail. In addition, the Court said that the question was even more difficult because of the major social and governmental changes that had taken place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Court noted that in the late 1860s when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, public schools were uncommon in the American South. At that time, Southern white children whose families could afford schooling usually attended private schools, while the education of black children was "almost nonexistent", to the point that in some Southern states any education of black people had actually been forbidden by law. The Court contrasted this with the situation in 1954: "Today, education is perhaps the most important function of our local and state governments." It concluded that, in making its ruling, the Court would have to "consider public education in light of its full development and its present place in American life throughout the Nation." During the segregation era, it was common for black schools to have fewer resources and poorer facilities than white schools despite the equality required by the "separate but equal" doctrine. However, the Court did not address the issue of segregated educational facilities for black children usually being inferior in quality to those for white children, probably because some of the school districts involved in the ''Brown'' lawsuit had made improvements to their black schools to "equalize" them with the quality of the white schools. This prevented the Court from finding a violation of the in "measurable inequalities" between all white and black schools, and instead required it to look to the effects of segregation itself. Thus, the Court framed the case around the more general question of whether the principle of "separate but equal" was constitutional when applied to public education. In answer, the Court held that it did. It ruled that state-mandated segregation, even if implemented in schools of otherwise equal quality, is inherently unequal because of its psychological impact. The Court supported this conclusion with citations—in a footnote, not the main text of the opinion—to a number of psychological studies that purported to show that segregating black children made them feel inferior and interfered with their learning. These studies included those of , whose experiments in the 1940s had suggested that black children from segregated environments . The Court then concluded its relatively short opinion by declaring that segregated public education was inherently unequal, violated the , and therefore was unconstitutional: The Court did not close with an order to implement the remedy of integrating the schools of the various jurisdictions, but instead requested the parties to re-appear before the Court the following Term in order to hold arguments on the issue. This became the case known as , described below.
Reaction and aftermathAlthough Americans generally cheered the Court's decision in ''Brown'', most white Southerners decried it. Many Southern white Americans viewed ''Brown'' as "a day of catastrophe—a —a day something like ." In the face of entrenched Southern opposition, progress on integrating American schools moved slowly: In Virginia, Senator organized the movement that included the closing of schools rather than desegregating them. For several decades after the ''Brown'' decision, African-American teachers, principals, and other school staff who worked in segregated Black schools were fired or laid off as Southerners sought to create a system of integrated schools with White leadership. According to historian Michael Fultz, "In many ways the South moved faster, with more 'deliberate speed' in displacing Black educators than it did in desegregating schools."
Deep SouthTexas Attorney General organized a campaign to generate legal obstacles to implementation of desegregation.Howell, Mark C., John Ben Shepperd, Attorney General of the State of Texas: His Role in the Continuation of Segregation in Texas, 1953–1957, Master's Thesis, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa, Texas, July 2003. In 1957, Governor called out his state's to to . President responded by deploying elements of the from , Kentucky, to Arkansas and by federalizing Arkansas's National Guard. Also in 1957, Florida's response was mixed. Its legislature passed an Resolution denouncing the decision and declaring it null and void. But , though joining in the protest against the court decision, refused to sign it, arguing that the attempt to overturn the ruling must be done by legal methods. In , fear of violence prevented any plaintiff from bringing a school desegregation suit for the next nine years. When sued in 1963 to desegregate schools in , member murdered him. Two subsequent trials resulted in hung juries. Beckwith was not convicted of the murder until 1994. In 1963, personally to at the to prevent the enrollment of two black students and uphold his "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" policy that he had stated in his 1963 inaugural address. He moved aside only when confronted by of the Alabama National Guard, who was ordered by President to intervene. Native American communities were also heavily impacted by segregation laws with native children also being prohibited from attending white institutions. Native American children considered light-complexioned were allowed to ride school buses to previously all white schools, while dark-skinned Native children from the same band were still barred from riding the same buses. Tribal leaders, having learned about Dr. King's desegregation campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, contacted him for assistance. King promptly responded to the tribal leaders and through his intervention the problem was quickly resolved.
Upland SouthIn North Carolina, there was often a strategy of nominally accepting ''Brown'', but tacitly resisting it. On May 18, 1954 the school board declared that it would abide by the ''Brown'' ruling. This was the result of the initiative of D. E. Hudgins Jr., a former Rhodes Scholar and prominent attorney, who chaired the school board. This made Greensboro the first, and for years the only, city in the South, to announce its intent to comply. However, others in the city resisted integration, putting up legal obstacles to the actual implementation of school desegregation for years afterward, and in 1969, the federal government found the city was not in compliance with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Transition to a fully integrated school system did not begin until 1971, after numerous local lawsuits and both nonviolent and violent demonstrations. Historians have noted the irony that Greensboro, which had heralded itself as such a progressive city, was one of the last holdouts for school desegregation. In , the schools were desegregated, as ordered. However, after 1955, the African-American teachers from the local "negro school" were not retained; this was ascribed to poor performance. They appealed their dismissal in ''Naomi Brooks et al., Appellants, v. School District of City of Moberly, Missouri, Etc., et al.''; but it was upheld, and SCOTUS declined to hear a further appeal. Virginia had one of the companion cases in Brown, involving the Prince Edward County schools. Significant opposition to the Brown verdict included U.S. senator , who led the Byrd Organization and promised a strategy of . Governor , a member of the Byrd Organization, appointed the , 32 Democrats led by state senator , to study the issue and make recommendations. The commission recommended giving localities "broad discretion" in meeting the new judicial requirements. However, in 1956, a special session of the Virginia legislature adopted a legislative package which allowed the governor to simply close all schools under desegregation orders from federal courts. In early 1958, newly elected Governor closed public schools in Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Warren County rather than comply with desegregation orders, leaving 10,000 children without schools despite efforts of various parent groups. However, he reconsidered when on the Lee-Jackson state holiday, both the Virginia Supreme Court ruled the closures violated the state constitution, and a panel of federal judges ruled they violated the U.S. Constitution. In early February 1959, both the Arlington County (also subject to a NAACP lawsuit, and which had lost its elected school board pursuant to other parts of the Stanley Plan) and Norfolk schools desegregated peacefully. Soon all counties reopened and integrated with the exception of Prince Edward County. That took the extreme step of choosing not to appropriate any funding for its school system, thus forcing all its public schools to close, although Prince Edward County provided tuition grants for all students, regardless of their race, to use for private, nonsectarian education. Since no private schools existed for blacks within the county, black children in the county either had to leave the county to receive any education between 1959 and 1963, or received no education. All private schools in the region remained racially segregated. This lasted until 1964, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Prince Edward County's decision to provide tuition grants for private schools that only admitted whites violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, in the case of '' ''.
NorthMany Northern cities also had policies, which resulted in a vast gulf in educational resources between black and white communities. In , New York, for example, not a single new school had been built since the turn of the century, nor did a single nursery school exist, even as the caused overcrowding of existing schools. Existing schools tended to be dilapidated and staffed with inexperienced teachers. Northern officials were in denial of the segregation, but ''Brown'' helped stimulate activism among African-American parents like who, with support of the NAACP, initiated a successful lawsuit against the city and State of New York on ''Browns principles. Mallory and thousands of other parents bolstered the pressure of the lawsuit with a school boycott in 1959. During the boycott, some of the first of the period were established. The city responded to the campaign by permitting more open transfers to high-quality, historically-white schools. (New York's African-American community, and Northern desegregation activists generally, now found themselves contending with the problem of , however.)
TopekaThe Topeka junior high schools had been integrated since 1941. Topeka High School was integrated from its inception in 1871 and its sports teams from 1949 onwards. The Kansas law permitting segregated schools allowed them only "below the high school level". Soon after the district court decision, election outcomes and the political climate in Topeka changed. The Board of Education of Topeka began to end segregation in the Topeka elementary schools in August 1953, integrating two attendance districts. All the Topeka elementary schools were changed to neighborhood attendance centers in January 1956, although existing students were allowed to continue attending their prior assigned schools at their option. Plaintiff Zelma Henderson, in a 2004 interview, recalled that no demonstrations or tumult accompanied desegregation in Topeka's schools: The Topeka Public Schools administration building is named in honor of , NAACP chapter president who organized the case. was designated a U.S. unit of the National Park Service on October 26, 1992. The intellectual roots of '' Plessy v. Ferguson'', the landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of in 1896 under the doctrine of " " were, in part, tied to the of the era. However, the popular support for the decision was more likely a result of the racist beliefs held by many whites at the time.''Race, Law, and Culture: Reflections on Brown v. Board of Education'' By Austin Sarat. Page 55 and 59. 1997. In deciding ''Brown v. Board of Education'', the Supreme Court rejected the ideas of scientific racists about the need for segregation, especially in schools. The Court buttressed its holding by citing (i
Legal criticism and praise[[William Rehnquist wrote a memo titled "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases" when he was a law clerk for Justice in 1952, during early deliberations that led to the ''Brown v. Board of Education'' decision. In his memo, Rehnquist argued: "I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues but I think '' Plessy v. Ferguson'' was right and should be reaffirmed." Rehnquist continued, "To the argument . . . that a majority may not deprive a minority of its constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minorities are." Rehnquist also argued for ''Plessy'' with other law clerks. However, during his 1971 confirmation hearings, Rehnquist said, "I believe that the memorandum was prepared by me as a statement of Justice Jackson's tentative views for his own use." Justice Jackson had initially planned to join a dissent in ''Brown''. Later, at his 1986 hearings for the slot of Chief Justice, Rehnquist put further distance between himself and the 1952 memo: "The bald statement that Plessy was right and should be reaffirmed, was not an accurate reflection of my own views at the time." In any event, while serving on the Supreme Court, Rehnquist made no effort to reverse or undermine the ''Brown'' decision, and frequently relied upon it as precedent. Chief Justice Warren's reasoning was broadly criticized by contemporary legal academics with Judge [[Learned Hand decrying that the Supreme Court had "assumed the role of a third legislative chamber" and [[Herbert Wechsler finding ''Brown'' impossible to justify based on neutral principles. Some aspects of the ''Brown'' decision are still debated. Notably, Supreme Court Justice [[Clarence Thomas, himself an African American, wrote in ''[[Missouri v. Jenkins'' (1995) that at the very least, ''Brown I'' has been misunderstood by the courts. Some Constitutional [[originalists, notably [[Raoul Berger in his influential 1977 book "Government by Judiciary," make the case that ''Brown'' cannot be defended by reference to the original understanding of the [[Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution|14th Amendment. They support this reading of the 14th Amendment by noting that the [[Civil Rights Act of 1875 did not ban segregated schools and that the same Congress that passed the 14th Amendment also voted to segregate schools in the District of Columbia. Other originalists, including [[Michael W. McConnell, a federal judge on the [[United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in his article "Originalism and the Desegregation Decisions," argue that the [[Reconstruction era of the United States|Radical Reconstructionists who spearheaded the 14th Amendment were in favor of desegregated southern schools. Evidence supporting this interpretation of the 14th Amendment has come from archived Congressional records showing that proposals for federal legislation which would enforce school integration were debated in Congress a few years following the amendment's ratification. In response to Michael McConnell's research, Raoul Berger argued that the Congressmen and Senators who were advocating in favor of school desegregation in the 1870s were trying to rewrite the 14th Amendment in order to make the 14th Amendment fit their political agenda and that the actual understanding of the 14th Amendment from 1866 to 1868 (which is when the 14th Amendment was actually passed and ratified) does, in fact, permit [[US states to have segregated schools. Berger criticized McConnell for being unable to find any reference to school segregation—let alone any reference to a desire to prohibit it—among supporters of the 14th Amendment in the [[Congressional Globe|congressional history of this amendment (specifically in the recordings of the [[39th United States Congress, since that was the US Congress that actually passed the 14th Amendment) and also criticized McConnell's view that the 1954 view of "civil rights" should be decisive in interpreting the 14th Amendment as opposed to the 1866 view of "civil rights." Berger also argues that McConnell failed to provide any evidence that the [[state legislatures who ratified the 14th Amendment understood it at the time as prohibiting school segregation and that whenever the question of school segregation's compatibility with the US Constitution (as opposed to the separate question of school segregation's compatibility with US state law and/or [[US state constitutions, where courts have often ruled against school segregation) reached the judiciary in the couple of decades after the passage and ratification of the 14th Amendment (whether in [[Ohio, [[Nevada, [[California, [[Indiana, or [[New York (state)|New York), courts have always affirmed the constitutionality of school segregation—as did [[Michigan Supreme Court [[Chief Justice [[Thomas M. Cooley in his 1880 [[treatise ''The General Principles of [[Constitutional Law in the United States of America''. In addition, Berger argues that the views of the draftsmen of the 14th Amendment in 1866 are decisive—as opposed to the views of later readers of the 14th Amendment (including the views of supporters of the 14th Amendment after this amendment's passage and ratification due to the fact that even their views and beliefs about the meaning and scope of this Amendment could and sometimes did change over time—like with [[Nevada U.S. Senator [[William Morris Stewart, who initially opposed school desegregation but later changed his mind and supported it). To back up his view about original intent being decisive, Berger cites—among other things—an 1871 quote by [[James A. Garfield to [[John Bingham where Garfield challenged Bingham's recollection of a statement that Bingham had previously made in 1866—with Garfield telling Bingham that he can make but not unmake history. The case also has attracted some criticism from more liberal authors, including some who say that Chief Justice Warren's reliance on psychological criteria to find a harm against segregated blacks was unnecessary. For example, [[Drew S. Days has written: "we have developed criteria for evaluating the constitutionality of racial classifications that do not depend upon findings of psychic harm or social science evidence. They are based rather on the principle that 'distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality,' ''[[Hirabayashi v. United States'', 320 U.S. 81 (1943). . . ." In his book ''The Tempting of America'' (page 82), [[Robert Bork endorsed the ''Brown'' decision as follows: In June 1987, [[Philip Elman, a civil rights attorney who served as an associate in the Solicitor General's office during Harry Truman's term, claimed he and Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter were mostly responsible for the Supreme Court's decision, and stated that the NAACP's arguments did not present strong evidence.''Harvard Law Review'', Vol. 100, No. 8 (June 1987), pp. 1938–1948 Elman has been criticized for offering a self-aggrandizing history of the case, omitting important facts, and denigrating the work of civil rights attorneys who had laid the groundwork for the decision over many decades. However, Frankfurter was also known for being one of court's most outspoken advocates of the philosophy of basing court rulings on existing law rather than personal or political considerations. Public officials in the United States today are nearly unanimous in lauding the ruling. In May 2004, the fiftieth anniversary of the ruling, President [[George W. Bush spoke at the opening of the [[Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site|''Brown v. Board of Education'' National Historic Site, calling ''Brown'' "a decision that changed America for the better, and forever." Most Senators and Representatives issued press releases hailing the ruling. In a 2016 article in [[Townhall|Townhall.com, an outlet of the [[Salem Media Group, economist [[Thomas Sowell argued that when Chief Justice Earl Warren declared in the landmark 1954 case of ''Brown v. Board of Education'' that racially separate schools were "inherently unequal," [[Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.)|Dunbar High School was a living refutation of that assumption. And it was within walking distance of the Supreme Court." In Sowell's estimation, "Dunbar, which had been accepting outstanding black students from anywhere in the city, could now accept only students from the rough ghetto neighborhood in which it was located" as a detrimental consequence of the SCOTUS decision.
''Brown'' IIIn 1955, the Supreme Court considered arguments by the schools requesting relief concerning the task of desegregation. In their decision, which became known as "''Brown II''" the court delegated the task of carrying out school desegregation to district courts with orders that desegregation occur "with all deliberate speed," a phrase traceable to [[Francis Thompson's poem, "[[The Hound of Heaven." Supporters of the earlier decision were displeased with this decision. The language "all deliberate speed" was seen by critics as too ambiguous to ensure reasonable haste for compliance with the court's instruction. Many Southern states and school districts interpreted "Brown II" as legal justification for resisting, delaying, and avoiding significant integration for years—and in some cases for a decade or more—using such tactics as closing down school systems, using state money to finance segregated "private" schools, and "token" integration where a few carefully selected black children were admitted to former white-only schools but the vast majority remained in underfunded, unequal black schools. For example, based on "Brown II", the U.S. District Court ruled that [[Prince Edward County, Virginia did not have to desegregate immediately. When faced with a court order to finally begin desegregation in 1959 the county board of supervisors stopped appropriating money for public schools, which remained closed for five years, from 1959 to 1964. White students in the county were given assistance to attend white-only "private academies" that were taught by teachers formerly employed by the public school system, while black students had no education at all unless they moved out of the county. But the public schools reopened after the Supreme Court overturned "Brown II" in ''Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County'', declaring that "...the time for mere 'deliberate speed' has run out", and that the county must provide a public school system for all children regardless of race.
''Brown'' IIIIn 1978, Topeka attorneys Richard Jones, Joseph Johnson and Charles Scott, Jr. (son of the original ''Brown'' team member), with assistance from the [[American Civil Liberties Union, persuaded Linda Brown Smith—who now had her own children in Topeka schools—to be a plaintiff in reopening ''Brown''. They were concerned that the Topeka Public Schools' policy of "open enrollment" had led to and would lead to further segregation. They also believed that with a choice of open enrollment, white parents would shift their children to "preferred" schools that would create both predominantly African American and predominantly European American schools within the district. The district court reopened the ''Brown'' case after a 25-year hiatus, but denied the plaintiffs' request finding the schools "unitary." In 1989, a three-judge panel of the [[United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit|Tenth Circuit on 2–1 vote found that the vestiges of segregation remained with respect to student and staff assignment. In 1993, the Supreme Court denied the appellant School District's request for ''[[certiorari'' and returned the case to District Court Judge Richard Rodgers for implementation of the Tenth Circuit's mandate. After a 1994 plan was approved and a bond issue passed, additional elementary magnet schools were opened and district attendance plans redrawn, which resulted in the Topeka schools meeting court standards of racial balance by 1998. Unified status was eventually granted to [[Topeka Unified School District No. 501 on July 27, 1999. One of the new [[magnet schools is named after the Scott family attorneys for their role in the ''Brown'' case and civil rights.
Other commentsA PBS film called "Simple Justice" retells the story of the Brown vs. Board of Education case, beginning with the work of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund's efforts to combat 'separate but equal' in graduate school education and culminating in the historical 1954 decision. [[Linda Carol Brown|Linda Brown Thompson later recalled the experience of being refused enrollment:
...we lived in an integrated neighborhood and I had all of these playmates of different nationalities. And so when I found out that day that I might be able to go to their school, I was just thrilled, you know. And I remember walking over to Sumner school with my dad that day and going up the steps of the school and the school looked so big to a smaller child. And I remember going inside and my dad spoke with someone and then he went into the inner office with the principal and they left me out ... to sit outside with the secretary. And while he was in the inner office, I could hear voices and hear his voice raised, you know, as the conversation went on. And then he immediately came out of the office, took me by the hand and we walked home from the school. I just couldn't understand what was happening because I was so sure that I was going to go to school with Mona and Guinevere, Wanda, and all of my playmates.Linda Brown died on March 25, 2018, at the age of 76.
See also* [[Civil rights movement (1896–1954) * ''[[Dred Scott v. Sandford'' * [[Little Rock Nine * ''[[Loving v. Virginia'' * ''[[Lum v. Rice'' * '' Plessy v. Ferguson'' * '' '' * [[Rubey Mosley Hulen, federal judge who made a similar ruling in an earlier case * [[Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South * [[Timeline of the civil rights movement * [[History of African Americans in Kansas
Works cited* * * *
Further reading* Keppel, Ben. ''Brown v. Board and the Transformation of American Culture'' ([[LSU Press, 2016). xiv, 225 pp. * * * Patterson, James T., and William W. Freehling. ''Brown v. Board of Education: A civil rights milestone and its troubled legacy'' ([[Oxford University Press, 2001). *
External links* *