When it comes to landmark civil rights cases, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) said no more segregation in public schools.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka followed these facts. Under segregation laws, African American children (Plaintiffs) weren’t allowed to enroll in segregated schools attended by white children. The black children sued the Topeka Board of Education to be allowed to attend these public schools in an integrated fashion.
Brown 1 dealt with the following issue: Does segregated public education based on race violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Brown 1 held the following rule: To segregate students and public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because separate but equal facilities are inherently unequal.
This decision was a narrow one that only applied to public education in regards to the separate but equal doctrine. This case said no more segregation in public schools. However, the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson wouldn’t be fully overturned till Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States.
This decision did not deal with segregation in District of Columbia schools. Bolling v. Sharpe would deal with this issue. Bolling ruled that an Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment exists and applies to the Federal enclaves by reason of reverse incorporation.
Further, some law professors have suggested that the framers of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment didn’t want to end segregation. They argue at the time the Equal Protection Clause was written, segregated schools existed in the District of Columbia; therefore, how could the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment want to end segregated schools.
Ironically, Brown 1 didn’t set an end date for segregation in public schools. All it’s said was segregation in public schools violates the Equal Protection of the Fourteenth Amendment and inherently unequal. It would take Brown 2 to order schools to desegregate “with all deliberate speed” and order lower courts to implement desegregation methods for schools.
Brown v. BOE relied on social science to end segregation in public schools. In footnote 11 of Brown 1, numerous social studies were cited about the bad effects of segregation on children. The court followed these social science studies in making their ruling.
In a reversal of things, the University of California Berkeley has returned to segregation. Today, the Berkeley law schools say African Americans can learn better if they are allowed to study in segregated groups in classrooms. Berkeley bases this decision on the latest social research.
In 2016, schools are still under these desegregation orders. In fact, a US District Judge Debra M. Brown just ordered the town of Cleveland, Mississippi, to desegregate it’s schools. It seems the fight to desegregate schools goes on in the United States.
Overall, Brown ended de jure segregation in public education. However, de facto segregation still exists in schools till this day due to poverty and property values of neighborhoods throughout the USA.