Brown v. Board of Education Ruling Ended Segregation

Today is the anniversary of a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that changed American education. On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, announced its decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. The decision was to end the segregation of public schools and reverse the 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that established the “separate but equal” doctrine. In the Plessy case, an African American named Homer Plessy was tried for his refusal to sit in a separate railroad car. Plessy v. Ferguson segregated blacks and whites in many areas of common life from water fountains to the school house. The Court’s decision in Brown started the slow march toward desegregation of American schools by stating: “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Although the 1954 decision was limited to public schools, it was believed to imply that segregation was not permissible in other public facilities either. Learn about the African-American experience of segregation from the 1870s through the 1950s:

THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW – Explores segregation from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement with an interactive timeline, activities, lesson plans, discussion guide, oral history information, and other resources for educators and students. (A companion site to the 2002 PBS series.) – This Jim Crow History website has a map, history essays, American literature lesson plans, personal narratives of people who lived through the Jim Crow years, and additional resources. Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century minstrel song that stereotyped African Americans, “Jim Crow” came to personify the system of government-sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in the United States.

Remember Segregation – A website created by the communications group DDB Seattle to help educate users on the life and mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination in the U.S. The entrance to the site really helps people relate to what it was like to live during segregation. The site also contains an interactive timeline beginning on May 17, 1954 and going forward.

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