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Brown v. Board of Education

  • By: Alounso Antonio Gilzene, Briana Coleman, Ronetta Wards & Terah Venzant Chambers
  • In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education
  • Edited by: Miriam E. David & Marilyn J. Amey
  • Subject:General Education, Higher Education (general)

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) was a momentous Supreme Court case that officially ended de jure (imposed by law) school segregation in the United States. A significant roadblock to achieving educational equality came in the Supreme Court’s earlier 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, whereby the Court defined and interpreted the 14th Amendment so that equal could mean separate. In Plessy, which stemmed from an incident in which an African American passenger refused to sit in a train car for Black people, the Court held it constitutional for there to be separate facilities for Black and White people as long as they were equally equipped. This interpretation would lead to decades of segregated public education, very little of which was equal in ...

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