Segregation against black people in America started with slavery. Theblacks working in white plantations lacked any rights. The end ofslavery did not herald good times for blacks living in America. Theblacks faced a new challenge in discrimination. In public transport,the blacks were supposed to give up their seats if a white personentered the bus. Segregation went further into school restrooms andeateries. For example, black could not be served in some school café.Discrimination was particularly entrenched in southern states such asAlabama. Notably, the fight against segregation started in the statesof the south. The battle against discrimination was fought on manyfronts. For example, freedom rides that challenged the interstatediscrimination laws. Students staged sit-ins to protest againstdiscrimination in school café. Other battle took place in courts,where blacks challenged segregation in courts. One example of a courtcase challenging segregation in school is Brown v. Board ofEducation. The paper will discuss the Brown case and its impact ongreater civil rights movement in the United States.
Before theBrown, case there was Plessy v Ferguson case also decided bythe Supreme Court. In the Plessy case, the court ruled thatsegregation was legal as long as there was equality in terms ofschool facilities. In other words, discrimination is legal as long aswithin the state, there are equal schools for blacks and the whites.In reality, blacks had fewer schools, and even then, the quality ofeducation was obviously poor compared to the whites.
In 1954, Brownfiled a case against Topeka, Kansas school board after the plaintiffchild (Brown) was denied admission into Topeka, all white school. Theplaintiff in filing the case noted the Kansas City schools were notequal for blacks and whites. In other words, the whites had moreschools than the blacks. In the earlier Plessy Supreme Court ruling,segregation could only be legal if there was equality in terms offacilities. Therefore, since there was no equality in Kansas City,segregation was illegal. In an earlier district court ruling, thefederal judge had ruled that the city schools were equal andtherefore segregation was legal.
Brown appealedthe case to the Supreme Court. The southern state`s legislatorsadvanced two types of arguments for discrimination. First, theattorney for Topeka school board argued that the ruling made by thefederal district court should be upheld, not unless the bench couldestablish that the Negroes were inferior to all human beings. Thesecond argument was that in enacting the law, the southern stateslegislators never meant to desegregate schools.
The ChiefJustice Earl Warren used the provisions of the Fourteenth amendmentsin making the ruling. The court was unanimous in its decision. Thebench observed that in passing the Fourteenth amendments, theCongress never meant to abolish segregation. However, they also didnot specify it should not be deleted. The chief justice was alsoalive to other forms of discrimination against the blacks that madethem feel inferior. Notably, the bench concluded even if some levelof equality could be achieved concerning physical facilities.Segregation was inherently unequal since it affected the self-esteemof the black child. The feeling of inferiority inhibited the childability to learn.
In my opinion, the ruling made by Chief Justice Warren was based ontwo factors. The first factor was provisions under the fourteenthamendments. The amendments clearly outlawed any form of inequalityfor all citizens. Segregation in schools was obviously a kind ofbias. The second factor was expert opinion. Video clips provided tothe court on how segregation affected the self-esteem of the blackchild proved that segregated black girl felt inferior and the feelinginhibited the learning ability.
The blackchildren faced many challenges integration into the white schools.The first challenge was in the form of violence. The whitesupremacists used violent to protest the decision made by the SupremeCourt. Intimidation was also used to keep black children from thewhite schools. The president sent troops to protect black childrengoing to school when violence became widespread. Some states, forexample, Virginia, suspended learning in public schools by reopeningfree schools. Other states closed public schools completely insteadof implementing desegregation. The hallmark of resistance took placein Little Rock high school when a black girl was chased away by theguard under sickening shouts of “lynch her’’ from whitestudents. In modern America, black children face similar problems toones in the 1950s.
In conclusion,though Brown case was a landmark ruling, nothing much really changed.The government pursued forced integration. American school neveractually became integrated. The school environment is still hostileto the black child. In college, black students face racism fromprofessors and peers. Consequently, the performance of the blackchild is lower than that of the white.