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The answer to this is that the Brown case overturned a case called Plessy v. Ferguson. This case was decided in 1896.
The Plessy decision was the one in which the Supreme Court laid out the doctrine that "separate but equal" facilities for people of different races did not violate the 14th Amendment. The Court argued that the 14th Amendment said that blacks and whites had to be treated equally, but not that they had to be treated equally in the same train cars. So long as the train cars (or, by extension, the schools) were equal, the fact that they were separate was not important.
In Brown, the Court held that separate schools for the races were inherently unequal. By making this ruling, it effective overruled Plessy.
The case of Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education.
In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. This decision provided the legal foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially separate blacks and whites.
Brown V. Board of Ed , its ruling reversed the principle "separate but equal" established in Plessey V. Fergusson. It declared racially segregated public schools inherently unequal.
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