Brown v. Board of Education: History Of The Landmark Case

A black student, Nathaniel Steward, 17, recites his lesson surrounded by white fellows and others black students on May 21, 1954 at the Saint-Dominique school in Washington, where for the first time the Brown v Board of Education decision was applied. -  STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

A black student, Nathaniel Steward, 17, recites his lesson surrounded by white fellows and others black students on May 21, 1954 at the Saint-Dominique school in Washington, where for the first time the Brown v Board of Education decision was applied.

STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

Brown v. Board of Education: History Of The Landmark Case

Sixty years ago this week, the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision struck down segregation in public schools. We explore the historical and legal context of the case and its immediate aftermath.

In the decades following the Civil War, many states enacted laws that required racial segregation of public facilities, restaurants and schools. In the 1930s, the NAACP began to challenge these so-called “Jim Crow” laws in various states. Then, in 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. But it took years for the new law to be implemented, especially in the southern states. Guest host Steve Roberts and guests discuss the history of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and how it changed America.

Guests

Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "The Warmth of Other Suns."

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

Delegate to the United States Congress representing the District of Columbia; Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Sherrilyn Ifill

president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Stanley Brand

partner, Brand Law Group and distinguished fellow in law and government, Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law; former counsel to House of Representatives (1976-83)

The Aftermath Of Brown v. Board of Education

Even after the Supreme Court said segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional, it took years for the new law to be implemented, especially in the southern states.

These photos share a glimpse of schools across the southern U.S. as they struggled with the new legislation.

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