Skip to the content

Honoring the Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Today, May 17, is the 68th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision (1954). Lawyers from the NAACP fought a long, hard battle to change legally enforced segregation in schools, and this case was their winning vehicle.

Public schools in the United States could be legally segregated by race, until the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Brown that separate was inherently unequal under the 14th Amendment. Black and brown children were not provided equal education in segregated schools, but the promise of the decision is that all schools will give children an equal opportunity to learn and that they will not be segregated by race.

The Brown decision marked a major turning point in the country’s civil rights movement. By striking down segregation in the nation’s public schools, opportunities opened for fairness and equality in desegregating housing, transportation and public accommodations, and institutions of higher education. The decision effectively empowered people of color to lead freedom rides, sit-ins, voter registration efforts, and other actions of protest that led to further civil rights legislation throughout the coming decades.

“We still have much work to do because of many factors, including legacies of federal and state policies that vastly disproportionately benefitted white people, such as redlining, GI Bill housing benefits and college benefits, highways built to suburbs, and moving jobs to suburbs where redlining meant only white people could live; school district line drawing; neighborhood disinvestment; racism; and classism. These factors continue to work against truly integrated and equally-invested-in schools,” says ABLE Managing Attorney Renee Murphy.

At ABLE, we are committed to helping to overcome these lasting factors and upholding the rights of all children to have an equal opportunity to learn without racial discrimination. The promise of Brown and other landmark civil rights cases lives on in our work so that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.



About the author

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.