Cumming v. Board of Education of Richmond County

At issue in Cumming v. Board of Education of Richmond County (1899) was whether denying a high school education to African American students was a “clear and unmistakable disregard of rights” (p. 545) in violation of their constitutional protections under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The board of education had decided to discontinue high school services for 60 African American students in order to provide education for 300 African American students who attended elementary schools, and the Supreme Court upheld its action.

Cumming and the accompanying judicial analyses reflect the difficult struggle that African American students experienced as they sought to obtain the constitutionally protected rights to equal protection in education. Fifty-five more years would pass before Brown v. Board of Education of ...

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