A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held in Brown v Board of Education on May 17, 1954, as follows:
Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.
We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.
. . .
To separate them 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 ever to be undone.
. . .
We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Brown v Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
Brown v Board was the result of decades of legal strategizing by black and Latino organizations. The Civil Rights Revolution includes attorneys taking cases to court, ground breaking judicial decisions, grass roots organizing, legislation by Congress, action by the President, implementation by administrative agencies, and people voting to support civil rights. The Civil Rights Movement is a paradigm for social change. Celebrate the Civil Rights Revolution: The Struggle Continues…
The legal team in Brown v Board of Education from NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.
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