Board of Education of Topeka decision is of critical importance to the current state of affairs in the U.S. and gives evidence to support this statement. It highlights the significance of this landmark case for the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation and also focuses on the global impact of the case. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States announced one of its most important rulings in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Brinkley 900). The case was in fact a collection of five law suits from Kansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, and Virginia, which were heard by the Court together as each of them was concerned with the issue of the constitutionality of racially segregated public schools.
In accordance with the Plessy v. Ferguson decision federal courts held at that time that racially separate schools were constitutional as long as black and white schools were equal. In reality white schools were typically much better supported than black schools (Weiner 61; "Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board" par.1). However, by the early 1950s instead of ordering desegregation of schools, federal courts required local school boards to equalize their schools ("Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board" par. 1). In Brown v. Board of Education the Supreme Court overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision when it held that segregation of public schools on the basis of race violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and was thus unconstitutional ("Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board" par. 3-5). .
The justices concluded that "in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place" and that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" (qtd. in Brinkley 900). While stating that segregation in public schools violated the Constitution, the Supreme Court did not order segregated school districts to desegregate their schools immediately.