Today in History- Brown v. Board of Education Decision.


Some interesting facts that I found out about the case and those who supported it:

-The Supreme Court justices did not agree on the legality of school segregation when the case initially arrived. During their first meeting in December 1952, four justices were against it, two were undecided, and two wanted to keep it. Earl Warren, the Chief Justice, put forth a convincing argument that segregation was unconstitutional, and he also argued that a unanimous ruling was crucial for such a divisive issue. Eventually, all justices ruled unanimously against school segregation.

-Many Americans remember Earl Warren as the Chief Justice who delivered the Brown v. Board ruling, but he was not on the bench when the case was first heard. Instead, Fred M. Vinson from Kentucky represented the court until his death due to a heart attack on September 8, 1953. Most sources suggest that Vinson would have voted to keep segregated classrooms in place, and many believe his death caused this essential decision to be overturned.

-The Brown v. Board Supreme Court ruling will always be remembered for its landmark implications; however, the actual integration of schools was not an instantaneous occurrence. The court determined that all institutions must “desegregate with all deliberate speed”. This ambiguous phrase was taken as a sign of leniency and dragged feet.

-In 1958, for example, Virginia closed some public schools instead of allowing Black students to attend, and in 1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace declared his famous motto of “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” That year, only 1% of African American children living in the former Confederate states attended integrated schools, and those that did were faced with consistent hostility. Real desegregation efforts didn’t start taking place until much later during the decade.

-After the lawsuits were filed, a number of plaintiffs and their family members lost their jobs, while others had their credit cut off. South Carolina experienced the worst of the repercussions; whites burned down the home and church of Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, and took shots at him one night, prompting him to abandon the state for good. Judge Julius Waring was another casualty of the retaliation; despite his efforts to promote civil rights – such as school desegregation – he was forced out after facing death threats. He retired from the bench in 1952 and moved to New York City.

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