Brown v. Board of Education

The Turning Point for the Civil Rights Movement

May 17, 1954

On May 17, 1954, it was declared unlawful to segregate public schools by race (Benson). Before that day, schools were segregated based on the color of your skin. This was against the Constitution. It violated the Constitution’s promise of equal protection (Breyer). It created unequal opportunities for minorities. Segregation was one of the many problems leading up to the Civil Rights Movement.

“We believe that it does” -Thurgood Marshall

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Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall saw this and decided to take action about it, and that was taking on the Brown v. BOE case. Brown v. Board of Education had major impacts on society and was a turning point for civil rights in the United States. The case not only explained why segregation was wrong, but it added to the Civil Rights Movement and it caused an uproar in the US.


Marshall displayed all the wrong in segregation through the case. He was arguing for equal protection of laws for all, as it stood at the time, the laws only protected only members of the majority race (Breyer). He knew the children of the minority group were deprived of equal educational opportunities (Breyer). The overall goal was to have the same protection for every race. This case was one step closer to that common goal. One way he got protection for the children’s rights was showing segregation was wrong and its effects.

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Aiding the Civil Rights Movement

The case set the United States on a path towards the goal of quality and equal education for all (Breyer). Educational programs were designed to ease racial tensions and encouraged diversity (Bensen). Also the case demonstrated there needed to be a change in civil rights in America ("Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al."). The case actually highlighted how the Constitution prohibits racial segregation in public schools ("Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al."). The Brown v. BOE also overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine that the Supreme Court upheld prior ("Thurgood Marshall." ). The Brown v. BOE case gave the civil rights movement its last push of energy it needed to continue forward.

Uproar against integration

Many southern states didn’t like desegregation (Bensen). At the front of the schools, the children had racist chants, that sometimes broke out in violence, yelled at them (Bensen). Eventually a widespread of support for desegregation grew (Bensen). A lot of protests in the South started to become frequent. On May 12, 1956, the Southern Declaration on Integration was put into place to try and stop these things from happening. Although it made matters worse. People began to think that the cases on integration were abuse of judicial power (Unknown). It also caused a massive resistance movement (Unknown). Even though integration was morally right, it caused a lot violence and protesting to take place. It caused the US to go in an uproar.

Brown v. BOE becomes a turning point

It showed segregation was wrong, aided the Civil Rights Movement, and it caused an uproar in the country. It took a big stance on integration. It helped with the Civil Rights Movement and getting closer to equal and civil rights for all. It showed that the nation can come together and be really be one nation where everyone is treated equal. It also helped people understand the Constitution and be able to use it properly (Breyer). Because of the struggles back then, we are where we are. The simple words said by Thurgood Marshall, “We believe that it does,” changed everything in integration (Breyer). Those words turned the civil rights movement into something important and meaningful, that’s why the Brown v. BOE was a turning point.

Brown v. Board of Education in PBS' The Supreme Court

Works Cited

Benson, Sonia, et al. "Desegregation of Public Schools." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History, vol. 2,

UXL, 2009, pp. 438-440. Student Resources in Context,

Accessed 1 June 2017.

"Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al." The African-American Experience, Primary Source Media, 1999.

American Journey. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 2 June 2017.

Breyer, Stephen G. "50 Years After Brown." New York Times, 17 May 2004, p. A21. Student

Resources in Context, 7812&xid=27374fb0. Accessed 1 June 2017.

"Thurgood Marshall." American Political Leaders. 2001. eLibrary. Web. 02 Jun. 2017.

Unknown. "The Southern Declaration on Integration." The Constitution and Supreme Court,

Primary Source Media, 1999. American Journey. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 2 June 2017.