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I think that one of the strongest implications in the modern sense of the Earl Warren Court's landmark decision is the basic idea of "with all deliberate speed." The Court's wording on this point both acknowledged the challenges that exist in American society and also made the issue of school equality something that would remain in American society for some time. The idea of "with all deliberate speed" was used by opponents of the decision to slowly take their time in providing equal access to educational and public facilities. This is still seen in areas such as South Carolina's "Corridor of Shame," an area of schools in rural South Carolina where educational inequality is still rampant. The idea of "with all deliberate speed" has not been felt in such areas, making the modern outcomes of theBrowndecision all the more relevant. The Warren Court understood clearly the challenge that was in front of them. When Chief Justice Warren retired, he acknowledged as much in his use of the wording and language of the decision:
...there were so many blocks preventing an immediate solution of the thing in reality that the best we could look for would be a progression of action.
The ideas of seeking to move "so many blocks" in the hopes of "progression of action" are elements that are seen in modern society today, making the case relevant in the modern setting even more than a half a decade after its ruling.
Despite the passing of the 13th amendment, 14th amendment, and 15th amendment, some African Americans were often treated differently than whites in many parts of the country, especially in the South. In fact, many state legislatures enacted laws that led to the legally mandated segregation of the races. Meaning in some states blacks and whites had separate facilities. These laws came to be known as Jim Crow laws.
Although there were many people who felt that these laws were unjust, it was not until the 1890s that they were directly challenged in court. In 1892, an African-American man named Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat to a white man on a train in New Orleans, as he was required to do by Louisianastate law. For this action he was arrested. Plessy, contending that the Louisianalaw separating blacks from whites on trains violated the "equal protection clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, decided to fight his arrest in court. By 1896, his case had made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court ruled against Plessy.
The reversal of the Plessy decision is the case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education whichwas actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. After years of going back and forth the result was that separate school systems for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, and thus, violate the "equal protection clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On May 14, 1954, Chief Justice Warren delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court, stating that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ."
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