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Brown vs Board of Education Essay

Essay on Brown vs. Board of Education Free Example

1.Research and discuss the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Oliver Brown

Introduction

In 1954 The United States Supreme Court heard and decided the case between Oliver Brown and the Board of Education of Topeka (KS) et.al, which is now popularly known as the Brown v. Board of education, a short form and an umbrella name for several cases. This case was a major turning point for the development in the judicial system since it broke down the legal justification for racial segregation in schools and public places.

This essay will endeavor to highlight these cases while giving a proper outlook at the background of the cases and the landmark decisions provided by the Supreme Court in handling these cases. The factors as well as the people involved in these historical cases will be mentioned as well as the impact of their collective actions (Kern & Alexander, 2005).

Initially the case was led by Charles Houston but was advanced by Marshall Thurgood with a legal team that disintegrated the legal base for racial segregation in their declaration of the discrimination brought about by racial segregation. They held that segregation violates an important section of the U.S constitution that guarantees all its citizens equal legal protection. This case therefore established the foundations for major national and international paradigm shifts in policies related to human rights.

The tendency of the human heart to prejudice and despise others and construct stereotypes depending on one’s religion, ethnicity, physical and cultural traits formed the basis for the laws and policies against segregation. This was therefore not simply an issue of children in school and education but a complex issue concerning the larger society with far reaching ideological and social consequences felt even at present day country wide, (Fobanjong , 2001).

The Brown decision

The Brown decision motivated the human rights struggle all over the country and the world over and is in fact the starting point for the freedoms America enjoy since it was at a critical moment in the development of democracy in America. The sovereign power in the American people in protecting their natural rights from arbitrary restrictions and limits being imposed by the state and the local government was reaffirmed in this case.

2. What other cities and states were involved in court battles to end public school segregation?

Five cases were combined under Brown v. board since they required similar legal remedy. These cases originated form South Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Washington DC and Delaware. A number of other cities and states were engaged in court battles to end public schools segregation. England, India, Yemen and Fiji are some of the countries that have experienced cases of segregation in their history.  This shows that it is not only in America that struggle with segregation in society and that many countries in the world have the same problem to address.

3. How were these cases alike? How were they different?

The cases in American cities and states were similar in that there were legal efforts aimed at challenging racial segregation that was being condoned in these states whereby black students accessed schools that were in horrible conditions and prohibited from attending some good schools for the whites only. There were several challenges and difficult court battles in all these cases, (Bardes & Shelley, 2008).

There were differences in the cases since each case had its own uniqueness depending on the situation at hand. For example, in Washington, an activist, Gardner Bishop forwarded a case to court after accompanying eleven African American students to a school for whites only- John Phillip Sousa School-, while in Kansas McKinley Burnett was assisted by Topeka NAACP in a bid to challenge a state law permitting racial segregation in elementary schools owing to the populations of those schools. In addition to this, African had access to only four schools while the white students had eighteen schools and this shows another aspect of discrimination.

In Delaware African American children had to take a long bus ride to their school that was in a deplorable condition since they were prohibited from attending a nearby school meant only for the whites. In another part of this state African Americans were denied transport to their school while whites enjoyed the privilege. Judges in Delaware denied the plaintiffs relief and this made the Supreme Court to foster the doctrine of equal but separate schools where all races are provided a considerable equal access to facilities although the facilities may be separate. Since whites were considered superior, they were to be admitted schools were they enjoyed much facilities than in the Negro schools, (Christine H. Rosell et al, (2002).

4. How close, or far, are we as a society to fully embracing the Brown decision(s)

The American society has made significant efforts in embracing Brown decision of the Supreme Court. Numerous paradigm shifts have been enhanced to ensure that schools are equally accessed by students without any discrimination in terms of ethnicity, religion, race or any other stereotype. However, there are some extremists who are focused on maintaining the status quo and therefore are unwilling to embrace the Brown decision. These people believe that segregation is a means of showing the class that people belong and is a measure of how lazy or industrious ones parents were in the acquisition of wealth. They believe that segregation does not deny people opportunity or discriminate against them but that those people who feel segregated are not working hard enough. This shows that although significant strides have been made in embracing Brown decision, thee is still need for more work to be done since there are people against the move to reduce segregation. This group feels that it has the right to be in the top and should be respected since they are superior to the rest of the groups-the groups that feel segregated from enjoying amenities and good facilities, (Bardes & Shelley, 2008).

5. Was your high school segregated? If so, in what ways?

In the present time, many schools in America are not segregated. However, these schools have undergone a history of segregation where by whites enjoyed better facilities and treatment unlike other races like the Latinos, Mexicans and African American children.

6. What could be done today to reduce segregation in society?

In the present day segregation can be decreased in order to bring more integration into the society through a number of ways. Youth from divergent racial, cultural or religious background can enjoy watching or playing football together and this will get rid of segregation in the long run. Sporting activities are very important avenues for promoting national integration and social harmony.

The state and the local government have education as their most important function. There are laws for mandatory school attendance and great expenditures on education showing that education is important in promoting democracy in society. Education is the foundation for skills, knowledge and values in the public service including the armed forces and is the critical foundation for good citizenship. The state has the responsibility to ensure that all students receive equal treatment in order for the society to be more harmonized and non –segregated.

Political affiliations that have no racial or any other aspects of segregation should be advanced in order to pursue common national interests. This will ensure that the society lives in harmony and there are no disgruntled hearts resulting from segregation, actions (Kern & Alexander, 2005).

7. What else needs to happen for America to move closer to the ideals of Brown?

America needs to focus more on developing national ideals rather than racial segregation in order to move closer to the ideals of Brown. Schools that are attended by a single race only need to be closed down in order to pave way for the construction of schools that allow all races to opportunities. This should also apply to the general society whereby churches and public gatherings, like stadiums, for a single race need to be closed down or better arrangements to be made to ensure all Americans from every walk of life can enjoy accessing these churches or public gatherings. Stringent rules should be enacted to promote the embrace of the Brown decision since this will ensure people abide by the stipulations of these laws in order to avoid brushing shoulders with the law. The fourteenth amendment of the Brown decision is a good start towards this end, (Christine H. Rosell et al, (2002).

8. What sacrifices have you made or are you willing to make for your education?

A lot of sacrifices need to be taken in ensuring that segregation does not continue to take root in the American education system. So far there have been major efforts whereby people sacrifice their time and money in the courts to ensure that Browns decision is fully implemented. People can sacrifice their individual privileges to ensure that an American brother from whatever race, religion, physical or cultural traits is able to enjoy equal opportunity for access to good quality education from schools with good facilities rather than suffer the humiliation of going through schools in deplorable conditions.