Brown versus Board of Education

A case regarding school desegregation, decided by the Supreme Court in 1954. The Court ruled that segregation in public schools is prohibited by the Constitution. The decision ruled out “separate but equal” educational systems for blacks and whites, which many localities said they were providing. The Court departed from tradition by using arguments from sociology to show that separate educational systems were unequal by their very nature.

Note

The Brown decision had an enormous effect on education throughout the country, not only in places where segregated schools were established by law, but also on school systems in which there was de facto segregation. The federal government, in the years that followed, required many city school systems to readjust school boundaries so that individual schools would have a mixed racial population.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.