Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

In the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared racial segregation in U.S. public schools unconstitutional. The Court's opinion in Brown, written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ended the legal basis for the “separate but equal” doctrine, which had justified racial segregation in U.S. social, political, economic, and educational institutions since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Just as Plessy, a case focused on integrating railroad cars, was applied to support segregation in all public institutions, the Brown decision has been applied beyond its initial focus on K–12 public schools. Brown has been extended to higher education and professional schools and has provided legal support for equitable educational opportunities beyond racial categories. For example, demands for equitable educational ...

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