Plessy vs Ferguson Essay

This essay has a total of 673 words and 4 pages.

Plessy vs Ferguson



The Significance of Brown v. The Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas
The Supreme Court decision in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas has been
credited with much significance. For some, it signaled the start of the civil rights
movement of the 1950s and 1960s, while for others, it represented the fall of segregation.

The Brown decision was a landmark because it overturned the legal policies established by
the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that legalized the practices of “separate but equal”. In
the Plessy decision, the 14th Amendment was interpreted in such a way that equality in the
law could be met through segregated facilities. Jim Crow laws were passed throughout the
South and they established separate facilities for Blacks and Whites in everything from
schools to restrooms, drinking fountains to witness stands in courtrooms.

For many years, the Civil Rights movement during the first 50 years of the 20th Century
accepted this policy of “ separate but equal.” It fought in many communities for equal
pay for teachers and for equal school facilities. It fought for equal libraries,
recreational facilities, and health services. Plessy defined the terms of the struggle.

The Brown decision established that separate schools were ipso facto unequal. It allowed
for better opportunities for Blacks to fight for positive gains and full equality. But the
fact that there no way to put these decisions to use became clear as it became obvious
that few gains were being seen by 1960, “Of course, Brown did not cause the scales to
fall from the eyes of white supremacists. The fury of the south was quick and sure.” The
year that a new student Civil Rights movement was founded.

Immediately after the Brown decision, many attempts were made to begin desegregation.
NAACP chapters encouraged Black parents to sent their children to “White” schools, and
there had been retaliation against those who did. There had also been three mass marches
on Washington on the school issue. On May 18, 1957, the anniversary of the Brown decision,
about 35,000 attended a prayer pilgrimage for integrated schools sponsored by both
northern and southern civil rights leaders, a first joint effort. In 1959, 400,000
signatures were presented to Congressman Charles Diggs petitioning the President and
Congress for a program to insure the orderly and speedy integration of schools.

The legal struggle for integrated schools dragged on in the years following the Brown
decision. Southern school boards and state governments brought suit after suit challenging
it and the created a variety of ways to get around the meaning of the decision. In those
few localities where there was at least minimum compliance, intimidation and violence were
used to keep the White schools White.

The Brown decision did provide a setting for major confrontations between the federal
government and the states, and between the Black and White populations of several Southern
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