Though the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board didn’t achieve school desegregation on its own, the ruling (and the steadfast resistance to it across the South) fueled the nascent civil rights movement in the United States.
In 1955, a year after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and would lead to other boycotts, sit-ins and demonstrations (many of them led by Martin Luther King Jr.), in a movement that would eventually lead to the toppling of Jim Crow laws across the South.
Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, backed by enforcement by the Justice Department, began the process of desegregation in earnest. This landmark piece of civil rights legislation was followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
In 1976, the Supreme Court issued another landmark decision in Runyon v. McCrary, ruling that even private, nonsectarian schools that denied admission to students on the basis of race violated federal civil rights laws.
By overturning the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education had set the legal precedent that would be used to overturn laws enforcing segregation in other public facilities. But despite its undoubted impact, the historic verdict fell short of achieving its primary mission of integrating the nation’s public schools.
Today, more than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, the debate continues over how to combat racial inequalities in the nation’s school system, largely based on residential patterns and differences in resources between schools in wealthier and economically disadvantaged districts across the country.
BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION AND SCHOOL DESEGREGATION: AN ANALYSIS OF SELECTED LITIGATION Lynn T. Brown (ABSTRACT) Brown is often regarded among the most monumental decisions ever rendered by the United States Supreme Court. Its legacy includes a body of case law affecting the shape and meaning of school desegregation over the past fifty years. However, school desegregation and the transition of Brown from courtroom jurisprudence to a manifestation of equal educational opportunities for African American and other minority students has not been characterized by steady, forward progress. This research project is about Brownâ s evolutionary transition vis-Ã -vis public school desegregation law. A comprehensive overview of the Brown v. Board of Education litigation and its affect on school desegregation is provided. The timeframe for the study primarily covers the years following the Brown decisions from 1954 to 2002. However, the study also emphasizes the legal and historical details that led to Brown. In addition, a review is included of the June 2003 United States Supreme Court decisions in the University of Michigan cases that addressed affirmative action issues, which is relative to Brown. The body of case law and information associated with Brown was immense. Therefore, specific litigation was selected for review and analysis. The basis for litigation selection is discussed in each chapter relative to the sectionâ s content. The litigation analysis is addressed from four perspectives: the Historical Perspective: â Separate-But-Equalâ Era, the Brown Decisions, the Seminal Desegregation Era, and the Contemporary Desegregation Era. Since the research was so extensive, it is beyond the studyâ s scope to exhaust all avenues of school desegregation case law in Brownâ s progeny. Brown offered the promise and hope of better educational opportunities for African American children in the United States. In the face of contemporary measures that consistently show achievement for African American children lagging behind that of their white and Asian counterparts, this project was motivated by a desire to explore the course of action, from a legal perspective, that resulted in unfulfilled expectations of Brown.