Brown vs. Board of Education Triggered Civil Rights Movement

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

In 1954, the Supreme court was presented with the case of Brown vs. Board of Education regarding the issue of segregation in public schools. An eight-year-old African American girl, Linda Brown, was forced to travel remotely through dangerous paths to attend school, while the white children leisurely attended school a few blocks away. Linda Brown’s father, Oliver L. Brown, along with other African American parents filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education, arguing that these conditions were unjust and their children should not have to feel as if they are minorities. This case raised the question of the legality and morality of segregation in public facilities.

The lawsuit was able to give African Americans the hope and motivation they needed to fight for social justice and racial integration, which led up to the time known as the Civil Rights Movement. There were series or protests, organizations, leaders, etc that all accumulated to form the civil rights movement. However, it is apparent that all of these events emerged from the Brown vs. Board of Education court case. The Brown vs. Board of Education decision, a landmark case that ruled segregation in public schools as unconstitutional, was the primary cause of instigating the civil rights movement in the United States by the initial non- compliance with the decision, the development of the NAACP, and the emergence of strong individuals.

The initial ‘noncompliance’ with Brown decision motivated African Americans, even more, to advocate for social equality. Right after the court ruling, “Nothing of substance changed thereafter in the racial composition of the city’s schools. Frustrated and impatient with the delay, four black students staged their historic sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro in February 1960”. These boys protested for the change that should have occurred after Brown’s decision. This shows that the immediate causes the Brown vs Board has a strong correlation with the civil rights movement.

The noncompliance with Brown motivated the African Americans, even more, to advocate for social justice. The boys wouldn’t have protested if it weren’t for the court ruling. The ignorance to the decision is what sparked such activism. Due to this ignorance, Oliver Brown makes a few remarks. ‘We believe very strongly,’ says Oliver Brown,’ that God will move people to do the right thing. Even though the truth or right is crushed to the ground it will eventually rise again’.

When Oliver Brown says ‘the truth or right is crushed to the ground’, it represents the continued discrimination after the court ruling. Due to its initial ineffectiveness, African Americans began to protest and ‘rise’ once again, leading to the prospering years of the civil rights movement. Mr. Brown foreshadows the long-term impact the court case will have. Without the initial noncompliance, there wouldn’t have been enough anger, hope, and power to initiate an entire movement.

Passionate individuals became motivated by the brown vs board to completely put an end to racial segregation in the society. Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most influential speakers at that time; He was able to let the voices of all the African Americans be heard. In his famous speech, he dreams that “…my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King hoped for a society that fulfilled the promise of Brown: an end to racial segregation, prejudice, and injustice.

Many may think that Martin Luther King propelled racial integration into the society with his powerful words, but these he wouldn’t have been able to come up with these words without the ideas raised in the Brown vs. Board case. Implementing the Brown decision was his motivation. The perseverance was similarly seen in a group of nine black students, also known as the “Little Rock Nine”. They enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957. Their attendance at the school was a test of Brown v. Board of Education. Arkansas National Guard blocked the black students’ from entering the high school.

As a result, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school. Daisy Bias, an official of NAACP who led the group with troops, stated in her memoir that it was “the first time in eighty-one years that a president had dispatched troops to the South to protect the constitutional rights of black Americans”. It shows the extent to which the African Americans were willing to fight for their rights. Little Rock Nine fiercely fought, just like Linda Brown in the Brown vs Board court case. In the end, this group made their way into the white public school. Clearly, many influential individuals were originally inspired by the intentions of the Brown vs. Board of Education court case.

During the ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) significantly increased involvement in the society. Thurgood Marshall, the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) won numerous important civil rights cases. He was the architect of the legal strategy that ended the country’s official policy of segregation. Marshall states, “The Negro child is made to go to an inferior school; he is branded in his own mind as inferior…You can teach such a child the Constitution, anthropology, and citizenship, but he knows it isn’t true”.

As a judge, he fought for individual rights and equality for all people. Marshall influenced the Brown decision of ruling school segregation as unconstitutional. He argued that school segregation violated the 14th Amendment. His actions helped to end all racial segregation and discrimination against all African Americans Speaking of equality, he became the first African American to serve as a Supreme Court justice. The steps leading up the civil rights movement would have been possible without Marshall and the NAACP attorneys.

The NAACP also successfully lobbied for the passage of landmark legislation including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, barring racial discrimination in voting. Its purpose was to “ enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations”.

The passing of this bill also brought awareness to the social injustices and had a profound change in the lives of both the whites and African Americans. With all this collective change in society, the civil rights movement surfaced. And it is important to realize that that the Brown vs. Board was the root of this change. By 1964, ten years after Brown, the NAACP’s focused legal campaign had been transformed into a mass movement to eliminate all traces of institutionalized racism from American life. The ideas expressed in Brown v. Board had inspired the dream of a society based on justice and racial equality.

By overturning the Plessy vs Ferguson doctrine which stated “separate but equal, the Brown vs Board of Education decision had set the legal precedent for the civil rights movement in the 1960s. It had brought light to the discriminatory practices in American society. The Civil rights movement wouldn’t have been initiated without the presence of this court case and strong-willed Brown Family. They were the ones who did not give up until victory was won, setting an example for other African Americans to follow. The resilience within the African American community was able to transform into a movement advocating for equality in the country. “Many historians stress the importance of the Brown decision in forging progress in race relations in general…It provided a yardstick of color-blind justice against which Americans could measure their progress toward the ideal of equal opportunity”(Weisbrot Freedom Bound: A History of America’s Civil Rights Movement). It is remarkable how one decision can set the foundation of a sequence of events and consequent choices that shape the future.


Cite this paper

Brown vs. Board of Education Triggered Civil Rights Movement. (2021, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/brown-vs-board-of-education-triggered-civil-rights-movement/

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out