Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Brown v. Board of Education

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional, saying they had a detrimental effect on minority children. Though the decision helped spur the civil rights movement and paved the way for integration, it was not welcomed overnight. In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to block nine black students from entering Little Rock High School. In 1963, Alabama Governor George Wallace personally blocked a door at the University of Alabama to prevent two black students from enrolling. In both cases, the incidents resulted in interventions from the highest level — in Little Rock, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed the 101st Airborne Division to integrate the school, while in Alabama, President John F. Kennedy sent in the National Guard to remove George "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" Wallace from the university doorway.

Date Decided: May 17, 1954

Chief Justice Presiding: Earl Warren

Vote Split: 9-0.