On this day in 1954, in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In Brown v. Board of Education, which was litigated by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a unanimous Court declared segregated education systems unconstitutional.
“Although the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown was ultimately unanimous, it occurred only after a hard-fought, multi-year campaign to persuade all nine justices to overturn the “separate but equal” doctrine that their predecessors had endorsed in the Court’s infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision,” explains the NAACP’s Legal Defense profile of the historic ruling that redefined the history of the United States. “This campaign was conceived in the 1930s by Charles Hamilton Houston, then Dean of Howard Law School, and brilliantly executed in a series of cases over the next two decades by his star pupil, Thurgood Marshall, who became LDF’s first Director-Counsel.”
(One of the first schools to implement desegregation is Barnard Elementary in Washington, DC. This photo shows black and white children in the same classroom. [Source: Library of Congress])