Brown Verses the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas was initiated in 1950, and moved through the lower courts before the Supreme Court granted the case to go to higher court. Linda Brown was an eleven-year old black girl who wanted to attend an all-white school, but the city would not permit it (Nizer 87). Oliver Brown, her father, was a railroad employee who lived near a major railroad switchyard, which his children had to cross every day in order to go to their all-black school (Gale 1). Linda and other children would also have to walk along the railroad track through weather that sometimes turned icy and stormy to get to their school.
Even after walking by the railroad tracks, Linda Brown and other black children would have to wait for the bus to finally take them to Monroe Elementary (Joyce 5). Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Brown sued the Topeka, Kansas school board for denying his eight-year old daughter, Linda, admission to the school only five blocks away from the browns home (Patrick 48). In 1951, Oliver Brown sought the aid of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (McLynn 36). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is also known as the NAACP.
Carter was part of the NAACP and is saying where the NAACP stands on segregation and in what area segregation is most prominent. “Behind Carter’s ambitious plan lay the NAACP’s belief that segregation inevitably produced inequalities between whites and blacks in the educational facilities and curriculum” (McLynn 37). Thurgood Marshall was head of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Thurgood Marshall was Oliver Browns lawyer. He argued that the operation of separate schools, based on race, was harmful to African-American children.
Brown’s attorney also argued that segregation by law implied that African Americans were inherently inferior to whites. The attorney for Topeka from the Board of Education argued that the separate schools for non-whites in Topeka were equal in every way. The Board of Education Attorney also said the buildings, the courses of study offered, and the quality of teachers were completely comparable to that of the whites (infoplease. com). Segregated schools were able to exist because it was legal at the time to have separate schools if they were equal.
By providing separate but equal facilities for black and white students, states could claim that they were depriving no one of equal treatment under the constitution (McLynn 87). Brown Verses Board of Education trial opened on June 2, 1951. This study, about Brown verses the Board of Education, will examine how “separate but equal” schools were not truly equal at all. Segregated schools did not have equal accommodations compared to the white schools. One example, of how the blacks did not have equal accommodations, was the board’s refusal to pay for heating in the black schools (Patrick 49).
This meant that many children would go cold and would get sick, some even died, because of the lack of heat. White schools were provided with heat, so therefore, black schools should be as well, because that would make them equal. Also, black schools were not provided with indoor plumbing services. Black children would have to go outside if they needed to use the restroom (Patrick 49). No indoor plumbing also meant that they had no water. Not only does this take away valuable time that a child could use for learning, but also, this unfair treatment is clearly not equal.
This takes away valuable time because, of how far the black children have to walk to just get to the outhouse then walk all the way back to class it should be able to be right in there classroom or close to it. The blacks would be more prone to get sick since they were not able to wash their hands after they went to the bathroom, or before they ate food. They also, had no access to drinking water for nourishment Once again, the white schools were provided with indoor plumbing, in order to make it equal, the blacks should have indoor plumbing as well. Continuing on, black schools had no cafeteria or gym.
In April 1951, four hundred and fifty African-American students at Moron High School walked out of their schools, they protested because their schools had no cafeteria and no gym (January 18). Without a cafeteria, the black students had no place to eat their lunch. They would have to eat in their classrooms and children would never feel they left their classrooms where they learned all day long. This would cause the children to not want to go to school because there was no change of pace or scenery. Not having a gym at black schools once again does not let them have a break from the learning environment.
Every child needs to be able to run around and do or play something that he or she likes. The whites had both of these opportunities, which shows, once again how the black schools are not equal in any way. One huge problem the black schools had was that there was not enough physical room which caused fire hazards. For example, Morton High school was crowded with twice as many students as the building could safely hold (January 17). This meant that if there were to be an emergency it would put the children’s life at risk of getting hurt or not all getting out of the classroom on time.
White schools never seemed to have the problem of overcrowded schools. This was because Topeka had four grade schools for black children and eighteen for white children (McLynn 36). That is a huge difference and it is clearly evident that the white schools were thought of as better than that of black schools supports that blacks and whites were not equal. Furthermore, at black schools, their buildings were very poorly maintained . For example, when it rained, students would have to hold an umbrella over their teachers head within the classroom so the teacher would not get wet (Williams 13).
The building had unfixed leaks in them which was why when it rained they would have to use umbrellas. White schools did not have to worry about the issue of bad building, because in comparison they had well-made buildings and if something did break, they were able to have it fixed immediately. White students were on their way to the Negro school and as they reached the top they say how neglected the school building was. “Segregated schools had unpainted rooms, plaster had fallen off one wall and the lights were bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling” (Joyce 103).
This gave the two white students a complete picture of how much they have compared to how little the blacks had. In summary, the lack of heat, plumbing, bad quality of rooms, not enough space, no gym and no cafeteria. In addition the segregated schools did not have as many subjects, supplies or quality educational programs offered compared to whites. One example is that blacks had limited number of courses offered at their schools. Here we are given another illustration of how white schools are shown to be better than black schools. White schools offered physics, world history, Latin, advanced typing and stenograph” (Gold 14). This shows the diversity of courses the whites were offered. In comparison to the segregated black schools were only taught and offered reading, writing, little arithmetic, and on occasion a civics lesson. They only had a limited number of courses offered because of the lack of knowledge of the teachers. Once again, we are given a clear picture of how the blacks are not “equal” with the whites in any aspect. The whites were offered more courses than the blacks.
Once again we see how white were given the choice of having more classes to take if they wished unlike the blacks for example, “White students studied Spanish, economics, and other advanced classes but black students only had a limited number of courses” (Gold 12). The white schools offer more educational classes then that of black segregated schools. All the segregated schools did not offer extracurricular programs or have the necessary supplies. The black kids had to share all of their books with each other because they could not afford to pay for books.
Also, they sometimes did not have any books at all until the whites gave them their used ones. For example, “new” books were actually old books with frayed covers, sent to the black schools after the white schools had worn them out (Joyce 22). This meant that after they received the books from the white schools they still were short but were always satisfied with what they had because they had at least something. Lastly, there was not enough paper, books and other necessary materials. For example, “Sometime in my schools, there were not enough paper and other material to go around.
They gave the old books that should have been thrown away to the black schools to try and make them feel equal” (Joyce 22). Continuing on, blacks were not given the choice of having extracurricular activities but the whites were. We see that whites had a variety of fun classes they could take compared to the black schools. “White schools offered drawing, woodworking, metal working, and machine shop work” (Gold 14). Compared to black schools, they were not offered anything except the core learning subjects.
Another example of white extracurricular activities was, “After school, the students could choose from activities ranging from driver’s education to working on the school newspaper” (Gold 12). Compared to black schools, once again, they had no options available to them. Many blacks could not continue their education as far as they would have liked to. Blacks would have to go to another school to get their diploma. This quote is talking about how blacks did not have teachers to teach, or a school that taught past middle school unlike the white who were provided with high school.
For example, blacks could not continue their education because “Schools were only provided through the eighth grade… High schools run by churches and private organizations enabled black students to extend their education” (Gold 14). This meant that most blacks did not graduate from high school because it was simply not offered, in the public system for the blacks. Some blacks chose to go to a college to get their high school diploma and finish their schooling but did not continue on to college. But, some blacks Secondly, black students did not gain many skills that furthered their education in the segregated schools.
For example, “A typical black student is graduating from high school with junior high school skills” (Jost 4). This quote shows that blacks did not receive a good quality of education or learn very much from their teachers. This clearly shows that blacks were not treated equality when it came to their education. Also, black students lagged far behind the whites in academic achievements (Jost 1). Blacks did not and could not go to school as much as whites went. For example, “Blacks schools averaged 15 weeks of school a year, whereas white schools they averaged 25 weeks of school a year” (NcNeese 33).
Just imagine what ten more week of school for a black student could have done. This quote clearly shows the inequality in the white vs. black education systems. Also, blacks were given the choice to attend other schools and colleges if they chose to. “While Negros had the right to attend state graduate and professional schools, most Negros who had been educated in segregated school were handicapped because their early training was both inadequate and inferior” (Williams 11). What this quote is saying is that the quality of the education the black kids were taught was not only insufficient but not enough.
The lack of education was just another unfair advantage that the blacks had to deal with. Lastly, “In many cities riots came about when African American students tried to enroll in previously all white schools as the court had ordered” (Gale, Gale student Resources 2). This quote shows how blacks still were not treated “equal” even after they were allowed to attend all-white schools. Uproars would be made if blacks tried to enroll in a post all- white schools meaning through the eighth grade. Post all- white means after the court had ruled segregation unconstitutional, blacks were still not able to attend white schools.
In summary, for black Americans education was more than an achievement education meant freedom, independence and dignity of self beyond measure. Even though blacks could not continue their education as far as they would have liked, most of them did not end up going to another place to finish through high-school because they had not received a good education in the beginning. In addition, the teachers at the segregated schools were not as qualified as the white schools. They were not paid on the same scale as white teachers.
For example, the teachers at the black schools were paid 53% less than those in a white school. This meant that the black teachers were being extremely underpaid because had to teach an outrageous amount of children by their self with no extra help, unlike the whites they never had this problem. The black students deserve to have equality because whites and blacks were supposed to be equal in every way no one is better than anyone. (Nizer 87). Secondly, teachers thought they had more knowledge and understanding of how to teach the students than they really did.
For instance, “Black teachers often undereducated themselves” (NcNeese 31). This means that, they did not educate themselves as much as they should have in order to be able to teach the students to the best of their ability. This is why the blacks only had junior high skills when they finish high school. Another example, of how teachers were not qualified to teach the Negro students are because they themselves were not educated enough. For instance, most teachers had no more than a fourth-grade education” (Patterson 10). This shows the lack of knowledge teachers had that taught in segregated schools.
The quote also shows how unqualified the teachers were as well as how inadequate the teachers were to the black children when they needed help. Furthermore, teachers did not have good working conditions. “The teachers at segregated schools often faced overcrowded classrooms, and shortage of teaching aid” (Anderson 11). This shows the extent of the overcrowding classrooms and unimaginable task of trying to help every student. For the teachers to teach hundreds of kids they could not possibly teach all the black kids effectively to the point where they understood.
In particular teachers did not have any qualifications to teach in the black schools. By looking at the person stories and testimonies of black teachers we can see there were no set standards of qualifications to teach in schools. For example “Here I was, a high-school graduate, eighteen years old, principle in a two-teacher school with 132 pupils ranging from beginner to eight graders with no teacher experience” (NcNeese 32). Teachers at segregated black schools should have to meet some requirement in order to be able to teach.
If that was done the black students could have got a better quality of education and not of felt so inadequate. Also, in the elementary grades of the county’s black schools most had no more than a fourth-grade education themselves (Patterson 10). The student to teacher ratio was 63 to 1, and in the white schools, the ratio was 35 to 1 (NcNeese 33). In summary, the lack of quality good teachers, and the unfair amount of being paid teachers at black schools were inferior in every way to that of white teaches. Blacks were not provided with a quality education and the teachers that were teaching were not very good ones.
This shows that black segregated schools were not “equal” or have equal quality of teacher compared to white schools. Another example of how “separate but equal” was not actually equal is that segregation of children in public schools made black children the inferior race to the all-ready more privileged white children. “Blacks were often called nigger by the whites and had to endure it and often did not show offense out of fear” (Anderson 13). The black children had to endure with the whites calling them names and could not show offence and did not show offence because of their inferiority. This treatment negatively affects their hearts, minds and attitudes in a way that could be detrimental for their future. The whites should treat the blacks as they would want to be treated equally. Due to the history of blacks some still feel the need to be servant- like around many white people even though they were supposedly “separate but equal” in society. For example, “In the presence of whites, many blacks assumed a sort of nervous, submissive posture, holding their heads down, avoiding eye contact and addressing even a young white child as “sir” or “ma’am” (Anderson 13).
A black student having to submit to a white student is not treating the blacks with the same equality. Blacks should not have to have a feeling of inferiority towards the whites or submit to them. By separating grade school children from each other gave them a huge feeling of inadequacy. “To separate school children from others of similar age, and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority and affects their hearts and mind” (Dershowitz 354). This means that separating children just because they were black was not fair; once again we see that whites were treated more equal when compared to blacks.
When black’s hearts and minds were affected it hurt other aspects of their lives as well, black students struggled with understanding how beautiful they were because of the negative comments. “Black students talked about beauty they said that although they knew they weren’t beautiful on the outside, they were beautiful inside” (Joyce 24). Black students should not have to struggle with not being beautiful, instead they should be able to think of themselves as normal people just like the whites.
Segregation was not just wrong but also affected every part of a black child mental development. To illustrate, “The judges declared segregation with the sanction of the law had a tendency to retard the education; and mental development of the Negro children” (Hartman 36). This quote describes for us the separation of blacks from whites had a tendency to slow down the intellectual process of the brain. Therefore, the segregation of children has a detrimental effect that last their whole life, they will never forget how they were inferior in every way.
In conclusion, on May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court said that segregation in schools was a violation of the law (January 18). The white schools were ordered by the courts to allow blacks to attend all-white schools but that never happened. Blacks still were not treated like normal people they were called names, had inadequate school building, were inferior to the whites in every way, had lesser amount of subjects offered, could not continue their education and had bad quality of teachers. Then, on May 17, 1954 the U. S.
Supreme Court made its landmark ruling ending segregation in public education (Williams 13). This did not end segregation in fact it had no effect. White were still not letting blacks into their school, they would treat them intolerably. Many black students still attended their shack segregated schools because their parents were afraid of their children being beet up or made fun of because of their race. A decade after the decision less than one percent of public schools in the south had been desegregated (Gale, Gale student Resources 2). In the landmark case of Brown Verse The Board of education, the Supreme ruled unanimously, or in total agreement, that racial segregation in public schools were not constitutional. By providing separate but equal facilities for black and white students, states could claim that they were depriving no one of equal treatment under the constitution. (Nizer 87). Such schools were able to exist because it was legal at the time to have separate schools if they were equal. “Separate but equal” was not truly equal.