|Lewis Redding & former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall |
who served as attorneys for Brown
Voice of America
Sixty years ago, the highest court in the United States changed the face of education. On May 17th, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
At the time of the ruling many school systems -- especially in the southern states -- had separate schools for white and black students. The decision overturned a previous ruling in 1896 which had allowed what it called "separate but equal' black and white public schools. This time, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools violated the US Constitution.
The Court's decision, in a case called Brown vs. the Board of Education, actually involved five separate lawsuits with different plaintiffs, but the proceedings centered on Linda Brown, an African-American from Kansas, who was forced to attend a black school across town, despite living a short distance from a white school.
“Brown essentially ended American apartheid... if by that we mean the process by which the government officially classifies people by race,” said Aderson Francois, a law professor at Howard University in Washington.
Editor's Note: This article has been edited for length for Walker Report.