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Brown v. Board of Education

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Brief Fact Summary.

Minors of the Negro 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.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

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.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.

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Facts.

In each instance, minors of the Negro race seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis. They have 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 of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not equal and cannot be made equal and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws.

Issue.

Were petitioners’ equal protection right violated when they were denied admission to schools attended by white children?a

Held.

Yes, 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.

Discussion.

Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other tangible factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities. 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. Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to retard the educational and mental development of Negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system.


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