This Day in Black History: May 17, 1954

1979:  A crowd demonstrating on the twenty fifth anniversary of the Brown vs Board of Education ruling which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

This Day in Black History: May 17, 1954

In the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court case, the United States Supreme Court rules segregation in public schools as unconstitutional.

Published 1 week ago

In the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled segregation in public schools as unconstitutional, citing that the practice of separating school children on the basis of race violated equal rights protections defined by the 14th Amendment.

The court’s decision overturned the "separate but equal" precedent set in the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson case nearly 60 years earlier.

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Despite meeting considerable resistance from segregationist groups who argued the court overstepped its constitutional powers by creating new law, the milestone decision helped galvanize civil rights activists into action in the 1950s and ’60s. In May 1955, the Supreme Court instructed all states to begin desegregation plans "with all deliberate speed."

Written by Britt Middleton

(Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

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