“Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities?” This is the question that was posed before the United States Supreme Court according to Chief Justice Earl Warren in the court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; a case whose importance in our country’s struggle toward racial justice and civil rights is hard to overstate. This case was argued before the court in December of 1952. The decision sent shock waves through the country, especially the heavily segregated Southern United States.

There were a few United States Supreme Court cases that lead to our country’s judiciary system finally coming to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. One of those United States Supreme Court case rulings is Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. This ruling made the University of Oklahoma give Ada Lois Sipuel education despite her race. Another Supreme Court ruling that led to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was Sweatt v. Painter, which decided that Heman Sweatt was not getting full education opportunity through his separate but “equal” education facility. (Pearson, 21.2.1)

Not too long after those Supreme Court decisions were made, suits were filed in multiple states questioning the “separate but equal” clause’s role in public education regarding racial segregating of public schools. This is what became Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, more commonly known as just Brown v. Board of Education.

In May of 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled in favor of the plaintiffs which overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling which is famous for it’s “separate but equal” ruling. The Supreme Court made this ruling in a 9-0, unanimous decision. This set the country further on the track of desegregation and by-law integration. So to return to the question that was put before the United States Supreme Court, “Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities?”, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated in the majority opinion “We believe that it does.”

Sources:

(Ruling opinion quotes) https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483#writing-USSC_CR_0347_0483_ZO(picture) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warren_Court_1953.jpg , (book, online version) https://revel.pearson.com/#/courses/5980b311e4b0d7c9430fdaf3/player?pageId=ac50904d538c4e3063040f14af08a963da7928406 ,