Plaintiffs in three different cases claim that they have been denied the equal protection after they were denied admission to the public schools attended by white children.
Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities.
In each of the three cases, minors of the black race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis. In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not equal and cannot be made equal and that they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws.
Are petitioners denied their equal right protections when they were denied admission to schools attended by white children?
No, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, the plaintiffs and others similarly situated, by reason of the segregation, are deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
In Sweatt v. Painter, in finding that a segregated law school for Blacks could not provide them equal educational opportunities, the Court relied large part on “those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in law school.” The Court, in requiring that a Black admitted to a white graduate school be treated like all other students, resorted to intangible considerations such as his ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students. Such considerations apply with added force to children in grade and high schools. To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The detrimental effect of this separation on their educational opportunities has been found in previous cases. Therefore, the equal but separate educational facilities are found to be unconstitutional.