Yesterday marked the sixty-sixth anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s May 17, 1954, decisions in Brown v. Board of Education and its companion cases. These decisions were right then, and they still are right today and going forward. They are among the most important events in U.S. history.
Chief Justice Earl Warren and eight Associate Justices, including Robert H. Jackson—held unanimously that government segregation by race of school children was, henceforth, barred by the U.S. Constitution. The Court declared that state government school segregation was barred by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and that federal government school segregation was barred by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
For Brown Day reading, here are the decisions:
* Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (and companion cases from Delaware, South Carolina, and Virginia — the State cases); and
* Bolling v. Sharpe (from the District of Columbia — the Federal case).
And click this link to get to relevant pieces in the Jackson List archive, including:
* from 2010, “May 17, 1954”;
* from 2011, “Brown Day,” about winning attorney Thurgood Marshall; and
* from 2018, “Nine Votes, Nine Present: The Unanimity of Brown v. Board of Education.”
As always, thank you very much for your interest, and please share this with others.
John Q. Barrett
Professor of Law, St. John’s University, New York City
Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown, NY