What Was the Brown v. Board of Education?

The Brown v. Board of Education was a Supreme Court case that ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Checkout this video:


The Brown v. Board of Education was a Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

The Plessy v. Ferguson Decision

In 1892, in Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional legality of racial segregation. “Separate but equal” facilities were henceforth established by law throughout the nation. In the words of Justice Henry Billings Brown, who wrote the opinion for the Court, segregation was justified because it produced “no adverse effects upon the colored race.”

The Plessy decision effectively legalized discriminatory practices that had been put into place since Reconstruction ended in 1877. Segregated public transportation, schools, restaurants, bathrooms, and drinking fountains were just some of the ways in which African Americans were kept apart from whites and denied their rights as citizens. The “separate but equal” doctrine would remain the law of the land for nearly 60 years.

The Brown v. Board of Education Decision

The Brown v. Board of Education decision was a turning point in American history, marking the beginning of the end of racial segregation in public schools. The case began in 1951, when a black third-grader named Linda Brown had to walk more than a mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her segregated elementary school in Topeka, Kansas. Her father, Oliver Brown, contacted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to see if they would be interested in taking on a school segregation case.

Attorneys for the NAACP, including Thurgood Marshall, argued that segregated schools were inherently unequal and violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection under the law.” On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, stating that “separate but equal” educational facilities were unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling of 1896 and paved the way for the desegregation of public schools across America.

The Impact of Brown v. Board of Education

The decision in Brown v. Board of Education was momentous because it resulted in the desegregation of public schools across America. Prior to this ruling, black and white students were almost always educated separately, in so-called “Jim Crow” schools. But the Brown decision declared that such segregation was unconstitutional, and led to a series of cases and laws that eventually desegregated public schools throughout the country.

The impact of the Brown decision was far-reaching. In addition to promoting racial equality, it also helped spark the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the movement’s most famous leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, cite Brown as a major inspiration for their work.

Today, theBrown v. Board of Education is widely regarded as one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in American history.


In conclusion, the Brown v. Board of Education decision was an important milestone in the fight for civil rights in the United States. The ruling helped to end segregation in public schools, and paved the way for desegregation in other areas of society as well. Although racism and discrimination still exist today, the Brown decision was an important step towards equality for all Americans.

Scroll to Top