Brown Cases

The Brown Cases

- Brown v. Board of Education 344 U.S. 1 (1952) [online]
- Brown v. Board of Education 344 U.S. 141 (1952) [online]
- Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 (1954) [online]
- Brown v. Board of Education 349 U.S. 294 (1955) [online] Synopsis [online]
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
Argued: December 8, 1952
Reargued: December 7, 1953
Decided:May 17, 1954

Facts of the Case
Black children were denied admission to public schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to the races. The white and black schools approached equality in terms of buildings, curricula, qualifications, and teacher salaries. This case was decided together with Briggs v. Elliott and Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County.

Question Presented
Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?

Yes. Despite the equalization of the schools by "objective" factors, intangible issues foster and maintain inequality. Racial segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on minority children because it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority. The long-held doctrine that separate facilities were permissible provided they were equal was rejected. Separate but equal is inherently unequal in the context of public education. The unanimous opinion sounded the death-knell for all forms of state-maintained racial separation.

Resources on Brown v. Board of Education

American Bar Association
Commission on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
Contains an annotated bibliography and list of films and videos, a list of related websites, and resources for grade school and high school students.

Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research
A “Kansas-based not-for-profit organization, established in 1988 as a living tribute to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1954 in Brown v. the Board of Education. The Brown family and community leaders in Topeka, Kansas, established the Foundation to commemorate and document the activities and history makers involved in this historic court case.” Features an online exhibit, “In Pursuit of Freedom & Equality: Kansas and the African American Public School Experience, 1855-1955.”

Howard University School of Law, Brown@50: Fulfilling the Promise
Includes an annotated chronology, biographical sketches, an extensive list of related websites, and legal documents (before and after Brown as well as Brown v. Board cases).

Landmark Cases of the Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Presented by Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society. Offers materials for use in the classroom. Includes key excerpts from cases and issues for discussion.

Library of Congress, American Memory, The Civil Rights Era: Desegregation
An online exhibit with images of documents and photographs.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Brown Matters
Offers a detailed chronology and several articles.

National Education Association, Horizons of Opportunity: Celebrating 50 Years of Brown v. Board of Education, May 17, 1954-2004
Discusses circumstances that led to the decision, the Supreme Court’s decision, what happened after the decision, continuing litigation, and resegregation. Includes a school integration timeline.

National Park Service, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Part of the We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement project. Features photographs and commentary on the need for change, the players, strategy, the cost, and “the prize.”

National Public Radio, Looking Back: Brown v. Board of Education, School Desegregation Fight Ended with Landmark Legal Decision

A series of reports covering life before desegregation, Thurgood Marshall’s role, the Supreme Court’s deliberations, the impact of the decision, and modern day segregation. With commentary, interviews with participants, photographs, and audio files.

Yale University Law School, Brown v. Board of Education Website
Companion to the book: What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said: The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Landmark Civil Rights Decision (2001).