The morning sky is dark, with a sun sure to rise in a few hours. Dew laces the ground and a chill has settled in the early hours of the day. Today, school starts at 7:40 AM for most Middle School and High school students; I believe 8:20 AM for Elementary schools. Now imagine you had to get up at 5 AM everyday just so you could eat breakfast, get ready, and walk an hour and twenty minutes to school. Society has barely even begun to wake up, and there you are, lunch bag in hand, on the long trek to school. That’s exactly what Linda Brown had to endure. Linda had to walk nearly an hour and twenty minutes to a summer school for African American children. Only seven blocks away from her home was an all-white school that would not allow her to attend because they practiced racial exclusion. It is absolutely ridiculous that Linda couldn’t attend the school closer to her home.
1940s Clarendon County, South Carolina had 6,531 African American students and 2,375 white students. 30 buses were used to transport white children to school. Not a single bus was used to help African American children to school. Many had to walk long hours just to get an education in a facility that did not have the space, resources, and quality of an all-white school. They were made to feel inferior which was extremely detrimental. Linda Brown is one of thousands of children subjected to unequal education because of the color of their skin. The schools were separate, but they were never equal. Walking over an hour to get an education while another student can ride a bus with ease is an example of the gross discrimination and inequality in the United States. Linda Brown was the start of one of the most important cases in history, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
The “separate but equal” ideology in the United States is traces back to 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson, a huge case in American history. This case ruled that segregation was acceptable and that it did not violate the 14th amendment. “Separate but equal” laws and ideology remained prominent in the United States. African Americans were subjected to decades of racial separation and discrimination. Cities were lined with “White” and “colored” signs everywhere; signs were in restrooms, over drinking fountains, railroads, businesses, etc. Facilities available for African Americans were often inferior to facilities for white people. Typically, African Americans were excluded from most places or totally excluded. Hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, parks, tennis courts, etc. would rarely admit people of color. The legal segregation created by the 8-to-1 decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson shaped segregation laws throughout the country. Brown v Board of Education would bring an end to Jim Crow and would bring upon the process of desegregation.
Brown v. Board of Board of Education was a landmark supreme court case that declared “separate but equal” public schools for African American and white students to be unconstitutional. Racial segregation in schools is a direct violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment . Everyone is entitled to a fair, quality education so they may thrive. This case is important because it overturned the Plessy v Ferguson decision that permitted “separate but equal” schools. When the case declared separate educational facilities to be unequal this helped end state-sponsored segregation.
White supremacists were furious and sought to challenge Brown vs. Board of education and challenge the supreme court. White racists formed together to desperately preserve their disgusting, racist views. According to the text, they sought to “preserve segregation and the Southern way of life.” Southern states sought to destroy the NAACP and tried to eradicate the organization. White Southerners responded with extreme violence. This violence led to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. Emmett was only 14 years old. He was just a child who deserved a fair education, a long prosperous life, the opportunity to follow his dreams, to have a family, to grow old. A long life was stolen from him. His death forever changed an entire generation of African Americans. Brave individuals protested, boycotted, and organized to end the discrimination and violence they had long suffered.
Hine, Darlene Clark, William C Hine, and Stanley Harrold. The African-American Odyssey. 7th ed. Pearson. Print.