This landmark case held in the Supreme Court in 1954 led to the desegregation of public schools. For, this decision overturned that of Plessy v. Ferguson which ruled in 1896 that state-sponsored segregation of public education was legal. Of course, this Supreme Court decision was considered a major victory in the civil rights movement because prior to this ruling seventeen states required segregated schools. Nevertheless, it would be a few years before schools became truly segregated. The most notable act of desegregation was that of what is known The Little Rock Nine who were nine black students that the National Guard escorted into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, after President Eisenhower ordered the troops to counter the act of Governor Orval Faubus who had mobilized the Arkansas National Guard against this desegregation.
There were several issues involved in the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. One of these was the fact that the schools for blacks were really not "separate but equal." Often the school buildings were run down, books came from the white school after they have been used for years, and usually there was no funding for such things as school buses. Another issue was political. For, when Justice Douglas traveled to India in 1950, he was asked about the treatment of "the Negro" in the United States. Douglas, then, became concerned about the image of the United States to other non-'European countries. In a 1954 speech to the American Bar Association, Chief Justice Earl Warren declared,