How did the impact of the brown vs. Topeka case make progress in the struggle of civil rights?

how much progress did it make in the struggle for civil rights for black Americans in the years 1945-1962?

Will pick most detailed answer as best!

Thank you in advance.

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    In 1896, in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a state could require segregation of the races in public facilities so long as equal provision was made for both races. The Court confirmed this doctrine in the subsequent cases of Cumming v. County Board of Education (1900), Berea College v. Kentucky (1908), and Gong Lum v. Rice (1925).

    In 1938, in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, the State of Missour operated a law school to which only white students could be admitted. When a black student applied for admission, the state declined to admit him, but offered to pay for his tuition at an out-of-state law school that admitted blacks. The United States Supreme Court ruled that this was unacceptable, and that Missouri had to fulfill its duties under the Equal Protection Clause within the state. Thus, Missouri either had to admit him to the white school or build a separate school for blacks within its borders. The student, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared and was never seen again, and foul play is suspected. In any event, the principle of "separate but equal" was intact, even after this decision.

    World War II ended in 1945, and there were many returning veterans, black and white, who were entitled to educational benefits under the GI Bill, and consequently, a huge demand on educational services. Obviously, if you were black, and you lived in a state where the college or university was limited to white people, your GI education benefits were not much use to you. There was tremendous pressure for change.

    In point of fact, many facilities for black people, where they even existed, were not equal. In the Sipuel decision and in the Sweatt v. Painter decision (ca. 1950), the Supreme Court held that separate schools for graduate and professional students (e.g. law schools) were not acceptable, particularly if they had only recently been created. These decisions predated Brown by a few years. The basic rule of "separate but equal" remained in force however.

    Brown v. Board of Education, decided in 1954, involved elementary school education. Linda Brown, the black student, sought admission to the school nearest her residence (which was limited to white students), and objected to being bused to the school for black students, which was further away. Under the doctrine of "separate but equal," however, she would have had a hard time, because, as the lower court found, the schools were substantially equal, and while black students were able to ride the bus to school, there was no bus service available for white children, who had to walk to school.

    The United States Supreme Court, reversing about 60 years of its own precedents, and without any change in the relevant text of the U.S. Constitution, held, in the Brown case, that separate schools were inherently unequal. Naturally, this came as a great surprise to a lot of people, and there was resistance. In a later phase of the Brown decision, decided in 1955, the Court softened the blow somewhat, by saying that desegregation did not have to occur immediately, but only with "all deliberate speed." That stiffened the resistance of the segregationists, and the Brown decision was not fully implemented until about 1970.

    So, what progress did Brown make in the struggle for civil rights? It reversed the principle of separate but equal (which I think was wrong, both morally, and because the Constitution should be construed in a color blind manner), but it created tremendous havoc in our society. When we consider the state and level of education among black students versus white students, and their respective levels of achievement, now that it has been almost 60 years since, we have to wonder just what it accomplished as a practical matter. But Brown did correct what I believe to be a misinterpretation of the Constitution.

    The point that we need to keep in mind is that the federal judiciary bears a huge portion of the blame for race relations in this country, because for nearly 60 years, it thought segregation was just fine, and then, out of the blue, changed its mind and turned society upside down.

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  • 8 years ago

    I see you seem to have a theme for your questions. Sorry, you only get one, which I've already answered. You'll have to do the rest of your homework the old fashioned way: by doing the work yourself.

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