Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka involves coloured minors who through their representatives seek the help of the court to be admitted to the public schools in their community despite the policy of segregation. In line with the segregation policy, these coloured minors were previously denied admission to schools attended by white children. Arguing based on Fourteenth Amendment, these children alleged to have been deprived of equal protection laws. The lower court denied relief to the plaintiff citing as basis the doctrine in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537. In the Plessy case, the court ruled though the facilities may be separate equality of treatment is still upheld when the races are provided with substantially equal facilities.
Whether segregation in public schools is not equal and cannot be made equal.
Segregation in public schools is not equal and can never be equal.
The Supreme Court in ruling in favor of the coloured minors stated the education is the most important function of state and local governments. The policy of compulsory school attendance and the government expenditures for education highlight the importance given to education. It is also considered as the foundation of good citizenship and the principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values.
Based on these premises, the court ruled that there is no place for the “separate but equal” doctrine in the field of public education. The segregation policy and separate educational facilities are inherently unequal regardless whether the students are provided with substantially equal facilities. The students are therefore denied of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Brown v. Board of Education case is one of the most important cases in the American history. It established that separation in the field of public education has no place in a democratic society. Its impact also extended beyond the scope of educational institutions as it helped in the abolition of racial prejudice in all aspects of social, economic and political. The African American victory in this case was used to grant African Americans equality in employment opportunities, voting, marriage, and even the assumption of public office.
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