High Court Strikes Down School Segregation

1954

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that separate but equal is constitutional and rules that segregation is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Court finds that the doctrine of separate but equal has no place in public schools. It holds that schools that are racially segregated are inherently unequal. The Court said: “[t]o separate [students] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”