Racial segregation in public schools began in 1892 over the United States Supreme Court's decision in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson's, "separate but equal" doctrine, that lasted until the early 1950's. This precedent legally enabled "separate" facilities for African Americans and Caucasians, as long as they were "equal". During the turn of the 19th century, the term "Jim Crow" was used to refer to African Americans. This term would later be used as the name of the laws that kept African Americans from public functions and places. It would not be until 1954, that the "separate but equal" doctrine would be changed for good.
One day Reverend Oliver Brown took his eight-year-old daughter, Linda Carol, for a walk to the Sumner Elementary School located just seven blocks from her house in Topeka, Kansas. After a discussion Brown had with the principal over the enrollment of his daughter, he was informed that she would not be admitted to the school even though she qualified. The reason she was not admitted to the school was because of the color of her skin, Sumner Elementary only accepted Caucasian children. Reverend Brown was not a man who caused trouble, but he did not want his daughter to have to walk six blocks along railroad tracks in order to catch the bus to a rundown black school (Dudley 8). .
Brown and his family, along with many other African American families wanted to put an end to school segregation. Thirteen African American families of Topeka rallied together and sought out the help of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP chose Oliver Brown's family for the upcoming case because he was a minister and a respectable, hard working man. Appointed this case were the NACCP attorney's Robert Carter and Jack Greenberg, with the guidance and assistance of Thurgood Marshall, who was a major contributor in fighting for equal rights of African Americans and also in charge of the other desegregation cases.