My school is 28% white, and 21% black. Every student uses the same elevators, the same classrooms, and the same restroom facilities. This was not the case with Linda Brown, in 1951. The black third-grader had to walk for more than an hour over a dangerous railroad switching facility in Topeka, Kansas, when there was another school a few blocks from her house. This school, however, was an all-white school, and had rejected her due to her race. The issue was taken to the Supreme Court, and, on May 17, 1954, a decision was reached, ruling in the Browns’ favor. This decision influenced life today as we know it.
Before the Brown v. Board of Education ruling was put into effect, there were “separate but equal” accomodations and facilities, like schools, as was required by the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling (1896). Also, since 1954, Jim Crow required that blacks and whites live in different neighborhoods, go to separate schools, and ride in different parts of buses, among other things. The Supreme Court’s decision that segragation was a violation of the 14th amendment was the first step towards a long and difficult climb to equality of races, and the end of the “separate but equal” laws.
The ruling helped to start the civil rights movement, and sparked a series of protests that led to the eventual extinction of legal segregation. The following year, the Montgomery boycott gained blacks the right to ride in the front of busses. A few years later, sit-ins at lunch counters led to the civl rights law that prohibited discrimination in public places.
There were, of course, many protests by whites against this civil rights movement, such as in Prince Edward County, Va., which closed it’s schools rather than integrate them. In Little Rock Central High School, Federal troops had to accompany the first blacks to the school. Despite these protests, in 1972 , more than 46% of Black children in the South attended majority white schools.
When the decision for the court case was reached, Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) predicted that segregation would be gotten rid of in five years. Although it had taken longer than that, the ruling at Brown v. Board of Education paved the way for many changes amd reforms. Today, more than 70% of blacks attend schools in which racial minority groups are the majority.
The Brown v. Board of Education decision influenced today in many ways. Back in the 1950’s, and long before, blacks were seen as inferior and were treated differently than whites and other groups. They were forced to go to seperated public places such as schools, which were supposedly “equal.” After a long struggle, blacks have come a long way. Now anyone can ride in the front of the bus and attend restauraunts, regardless of their race. Today, no child would be forced to walk for over a mile when there is another school about 5 minutes away, just because his or her color and race.