Revisiting History: Brown v. Board of Education

In my last Revisiting History post, I discussed Horace Mann’s reformations in education to help shape our nation’s school days and years. In this post, I will be discussing the importance of the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit that astronomically changed the lives of many and gave equal opportunity for others despite race. Regardless of whether or not it is Black history month, it is always good to remember the past and how we’ve grown from crippling judgment in classrooms to an unsegregated, unabridged means of academic foundation. It is a beautiful thing that no one, though society may still have some that are discriminating, is lawfully able to take away from someone else, or execute anything on behalf of a holier than thou mindset. The things, such as this, that our society’s past has fought for through their lives, has been fully implemented in ours.

Relatives of Brown plaintiff depicted in 2012. (photo by US Department of Education)

What is it?

Brown v. the Board of Education was a famous lawsuit has helped to bridge the gap between the education of African Americans and Caucasians in the 1950s. It was before this time that people, according to race, were separated, even so far as to drink from different water fountains! This idea of entitlement led to the mistreatment of African Americans through out much of history; Brown v. Board of Education sought to balance equity in schools. However, Brown v. the Board of Education was not the first segregation lawsuit. Many others have failed before Brown v. the Board came to be.

The most famous and well-known case grouped under Brown v. the Board of Education is the actual Brown v. Board case in Kansas. Most people do not realize that there are actually five cases under this heading: Belton v. Gebhart in Delaware, Briggs v. Elliot in South Carolina, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County in Virginia, and Bolling v. Sharpe in the District of Columbia.

Why is it important to us now?

The ideas of this segregation lawsuit are still in place today; Generation Y thinks nothing of different races in our schools and classes, as it is what they have grown up with and become accustomed to. Equality is emphasized in school, as well as equal opportunity. There are, in fact, other laws, such as the No Child Left Behind act, that gives equal opportunity to all students, regardless of race.

Although Generation Y may not realize the significance of Brown v. Board, as they were not alive or visually impacted by the lawsuit, it determined that “separate but equal” was not truly “equal,” and therefore, unjust and not of good taste. Appreciating history is partly why it is studied so often; there is significance in learning from the past of our ancestors and their ancestors.

Therefore, we must remember that if not for people striving such as Brown, we would not be where we are today. We would not have the opportunities and the equality that we so desire and feel entitled to. We would not be the same, thriving on equality, society.


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