The Jim Crow Laws were in effect when
Linda Brown was but a small child. This law forced
African Americans to drink from separate fountains, use
separate restrooms, and eat in separate sections of
restaurants. There weren't to many protests of such
things by Blacks until the 1954 decision.
Linda Brown had to walk
one mile to Monroe Elementary School for African Americans
through a switchyard. Sumner Elementary for Whites
was only seven blocks away. Monroe Elementary was of
broken ceiling tiles, floors, plaster, windows, and
heating ducts. Segregation of white and black
children made colored kids in public segregated schools
feel inferior, but black schools were not known for
inferiority to white schools in Kansas. Yet there
still was the feeling.
So Mr. Brown filed a court case along
with other violated African Americans. They were all
put under the case of Brown vs. Topeka Board of
Education. The judges ruled that black children are
being violated in Topeka schools. The next day local
papers printed headlines of how the end of the lifestyles
of Whites was coming. Reapportionment backers argued
that rural districts and special interests over state
legislatures living in urban lands had been unfairly
diluted. Nine months later, after the court decision,
reapportionment suits were filed in thirty-four
states. The Southern states showed strong
resistance, but they slowly integrated under federal court
orders along with the threats of losing federal funds.
Many followed in the
steps of the Brown case. Many protested, from women
to poor people, every type that you can think of.
This court decision not only called for racial balance in
the material world but also racial equality in the mind.
It also changed our legal system; some for the good and
others just didn't help much.
Even though African Americans started
attending white schools, they
had separate teams and separate prom courts. The Little Rock School Board
decided to slowly integrate so the students could ease into the Decision smoothly.
They started with nine black students dubbed "The Little Rock
Nine." These nine started attending Central High School.
Just a few years ago the
court standards for racial equality proved to lack in
nearly a third of elementary schools in Topeka. With many
court decisions like so, they helped form the 1964 Civil
Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1968 Fair
Linda Brown Smith said that in Topeka the civil rights
legislation hadn't changed much. She refilled the suit against the Topeka
Board of Education in 1979, claiming African American children were still left
out. Linda had said, "My children weren't...exposed to
all races in school, and that is a big part of growing up and preparing for
adulthood." Sadly the truth is that 60% of
children still attend segregated schools because their
parents chose so. But the three Acts listed above
helped form an African American middle class. Not
only did African Americans attend the same schools as
Whites but they could also eat at the same restaurants,
stay in the same hotels, live in the same neighborhoods,
use the same restrooms, and drink from the same fountains.
Because of the middle class that was
formed, high school graduation rates for African Americans
soared until they almost equaled those of Whites.
Four-year colleges were attended by more black students
than ever before. People who attended integrated
schools tended to attend integrated colleges, get racially
mixed jobs, and move into integrated neighborhoods.
But still, 59.3% of African Americans
attend all-black schools in Illinois. That is the
highest rate among the states. Overall in America,
one-third of African Americans attend schools where there are more than half the
school population is black. One-third of blacks
attend all-black schools. The Hispanic fractions are
even higher. Desegregation plans are weak.
Federal Judge Robert L. Carter claimed, "More black
children are now attending all-black schools or nearly
all-black schools than the case before the Brown Decision
and the educational offerings available to them still
continue to be shamefully unequal. Our future as a
people is at stake."
It proves that forty years after the
Brown Decision, the importance of equality is as
significant as ever. Eye color seems to not matter,
so why does skin color? We are all human.
America is unique and successful due to all of our
ancestors different origins. Lets let our great
nation's diversity strengthen us, rather than divide us.
Dennis Kelly, "Roots of Integration// 'Brown vs. Board of
Education' turns 40// Legacy of a Class-action landmark"., USA Today,
02-16-1994, pp 01.
Shena Crittendon, "Separate and Unequal: 40 years after Brown
decision"., Richard Afro-American, 06-14-1995, pp PG.
Written by Ken Gross, reported by Bill Shaw, "Sequel:
Linda Brown Reopens Her Landmark Case Against Racism"., People, 12-01-1986,
Alvin Peabody, "The Education Of Black America: 40 Years Later
1954 Decision Seen As"., Washington Informer, 05-25-1994, pp PG.
Amanda Caracci, "Brown Details Experience in Landmark Case in
South Carolina Speech"., University Wire, 02-19-1999.
Jonathan Yardley, whose e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org,
"Complications of an Activist Court"., The Washington Post, 02-15-2001, pp
By Brent Whiting, "High Court Revolutionized U.S. This
Century"., The Arizona Republic, 12-12-1999, pp A36
Stories by Timothy M. Phelps, "The Legacy of Brown vs. Board
Decades after the Supreme Court Barred Separate but Equal Schools, in Topeka and
Elsewhere the Battle is Still Being Waged!", Newsday, 05-15-1994, pp A04.
John Hanna, The Fight Continues., Los Angeles Sentinel,
05-19-1994, pp PG
William H. Freivagel; "Of the Post-Dispatch Staff, Black, White
and Brown Desegregation Ruling Established A Legal Landmark, Unkept
St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 05-15-1994, pp 01B
Bill Clinton, "Equal Justice For All"., Washington
Informer, 05-25-1994, pp PG
Author Not Available, "Judge
Says Schools Still
Observer, 03-12-1997 ,pp PG
Brown Henderson, Cheryl, "The Legacy of Brown Forty Six
Years Later." Washburn Law Journal, September 20, 2000
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