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Brown v Board of Education

            n 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States declared racial segregation in schools illegal in its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka decision. Since then progress has been made towards desegregation; however, widespread "de facto" segregation still exists today across the nation. The Brown decision was a pivotal advancement in the fight for equality; for many it represented the beginning of desegreagation. .
             In 1896, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall Harlan ruled in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, that segregation of the races was legal under the 14th Amendment. This Supreme Court case determined blacks could legally be restricted to "separate but equal" facilities; this later opened the door for Jim Crow laws that separated whites and blacks in the south. Although this case involved only passenger accommodations on a railroad, the principle of "separate but equal" was applied afterwards to all parts of public life. In the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, the 14th Amendment was interpreted in such a way that equality under the law could be met through segregated facilities. Jim Crow laws were passed throughout the South and they established separate facilities for Blacks and Whites in all aspects of life. Although the court had ruled in favor of the "separate but equal" doctrine, the separate facilities for Blacks were not equal to those of white, they were in fact inferior. .
             This "separate but equal" doctrine was reversed by the Supreme court under Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1954 in the case Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka Kansas, stating "to separate them {African American children} from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place.

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