Brown vs. Board of Education

Supreme Court Case in 1954- Tammy and Alishia

What is it?

  • Early 1950s, many students went to different schools based on their race. (Segregation)


  • Segregation was legal because of past court decisions.


  • In 1896, the SC of US had a case called Plessy vs Ferguson: Court said that segregation was legal when the facilities for both races (trains, bathrooms, restaurants, etc.) were similar in quality.

Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

The Brown's focused on the intangible elements of education such as the social stigma that comes with a separation of children based on their race.


The Board of Education of Topeka focused on the equality of elements of education such as: school buildings, transportation, teachers, etc.

Who was Involved?

Linda Brown (Oliver Brown’s daughter, 3rd grader)

Oliver L. Brown (Father of Linda Brown)

Board of Education

Earl Warren (Chief Justice)

Thurgood Marshall (1st African American Justice of the Supreme Court of US and represented Linda Brown in this case)

What problems did Linda Brown face in Topeka, Kansas?

  • Linda Brown and her sister had to walk through a railroad switchyard to get to their bus stop to go to an all black school even though there was a school closer to their house, but it was only for white students
  • Linda’s family believed that segregated schools should be illegal and that the segregated school system violated the Constitution.
  • Linda’s family sued the school system and the district court saying that segregation hurt black children.

What happened during the Supreme Court Case?

  1. The US District Court for the District of Kansas found that segregation had a negative effect on black children, but it decided that segregated schools didn't violate the 14th Amendment because of facilities, transportation, teachers, and other factors were equal (1951)
  2. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that segregated schools are "inherently unequal" and violate the 14th Amendment (1954)
  3. The Supreme Court of the US declared that schools should be desegregated with" all "deliberate speed." (1955)

What right does the 14th Amendment give to citizens?

“No State shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


People will be treated equally under the law.

What problems did it solve?


  • In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.”
  • This decision marked the beginning of the end of “Separate but Equal” in which led to the Plessy vs. Ferguson case.

Main Point

  • The Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.