Brown versus Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education

The story of America's struggle toward equality is complex. But in its ideals, America has stood for the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ruled that the Constitution forbids laws segregating public schools by race. This historic decision opened the doors of opportunity for many Americans. Constitutional Rights Foundation presents a series of online lessons marking the Brown decision.

Lessons

"We Came to Free the Slaves": John Brown on Trial
Before the Civil War, John Brown, a crusader against slavery, fought his last battle against slavery in the courtroom.

The Southern "Black Codes" of 1865-66
The end of the Civil War marked the end of slavery. Seeking to control the former slaves, Southern states devised special state law codes.

"At the Hands of Persons Unknown" Lynching in America
Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 people were lynched in the United Sates; over 70 percent of the victims were African-Americans.

Race and Voting in the Segregated South
Despite the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteeing the civil rights of African-Americans, their right to vote was systematically taken away by Southern state governments.

Three Visions for African-Americans
Competing visions put forward by three African-Americans at the turn of the 20th century: W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Marcus Garvey.

In the Courts
The history of hard-fought courtroom battles that led up to the historic Brown decision.

Mendez v. Westminster: Paving the Way to School Desegregation
In 1947, seven years before the Brown decision, a federal appeals court ruled that Mexican-American children could not be forced to attend segregated schools in California.

"Let us Reason Together"
In the 1950s a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, led in the Senate by Lyndon Johnson, worked together to pass a civil rights bill..

Race and Representation
Ninety years after the end of the Civil War, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended voting discrimination in Southern states, allowing African-Americans to vote and hold elective office. The Supreme Court has decided issues based on this act.

The Adarand Case: Affirmative Action and Equal Protection
The debate over whether affirmative action programs, designed to help minorities and women, are a form of reverse discrimination, doing more harm than good.

Affirmative Action in American Colleges After Fisher v. Texas
The 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision leaves in question the future of affirmative action programs for college admissions.

Including the Disabled Student
Under the requirements of federal law, more disabled students are being included in regular classroom. Is this the best way to educate them?

The Color of Justice
Is the American criminal justice system fair to people of color?

Reparations for Slavery
The debate over reparations—compensation of blacks for slavery and its consequences.

Action Project
A guide for students to plan and implement their own civic-participation project.

 

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