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Legal Briefs: Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board

Published Monday, June 5, 2017

On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court held in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racially segregated public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools.

In the unanimous decision, the Justices declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ."

 

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