What did the conclusion  of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education do for its legacy?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the conclusion of the court in the Brown case is significant to its legacy in a couple of ways.  On one hand, it was one of the most forceful statements that the court could make in acknowledging a previous wrong.  This is highly significant in how the decision constructed the court's way of viewing its own history.  Justice Warren in his articulation of the majority had little problem in suggesting that the development and analysis of Plessy v. Ferguson was Constitutionally inaccurate and did not speak to the conditions of modern society.  It is to this point where I think that Justice Warren's decision speaks.  One element of the Court's legacy that was revealed in the Brown case was the idea that the Supreme Court can and will take action when other aspects of society refuse to do so.  State governments and federal governments, as well as their respective legislatures had not been able to effectively address the issue in their domains.  It was up to the Court to exercise authority in a domain where it was not or could not be demonstrated.  The decision demonstrated this about the Court's legacy, as well.  Finally, I think that the court's legacy was shown to be one that was not developed in a vacuum outside of society.  The most compelling element about the Brown case is that its decision was real, vitally relevant to the modern setting in which most Americans, especially African- Americans, found themselves.  The desire for education is something rooted in reality.  The decision was not an exercise in academia or something in the ivory tower of jurisprudence.  The decision was real, initiating change in the lives of the people in a substantive manner, demonstrating the power of the Supreme Court.  In this, part of its legacy was established as being able to initiate real change in the lives of Americans.

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