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Essay About Brown vs. Board of Education

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    The research being conducted will be based on the concept learned in class called Litigation. In this essay, the term litigation will be defined in depth to get a better understanding of the process. The case we will be focusing on is a class action lawsuit; Brown vs. Board of Education. The focus of this case is a lawsuit that dealt with segregation in the united states in 1954. Along with the focus being on Brown vs. Board, they will represent Parties A and B. The third party in this conflict will be Thurgood Marshall. We will learn about the nature of the case and the relations between the two parties along with the third party’s motives, interest, strategies adopted, and what the outcome in the case was.

    Litigation is the formal court process through which one party attempts to defend its legal rights against another party. This is what happened in the Brown vs. Board of Education case. There are multiple types of Litigation, for example there is defamation which is when party A sues party B for the act of injuring the image, reputation, or character of Party A. There is also Fraud; Party A takes Party B to court for gaining value out of Party A for misinterpretation of a product that Party B was aware being a deception. This can be something valuable like money or property. The last example is a class action lawsuit, where Party A files a lawsuit against Party B for certain harm, this can be financially, actual physical harm, or the violation of legal rights. In this case, Party A can just be one person from a large group of people that represents them as a whole.

    In Brown vs. Board of Education, Plaintiff Oliver Brown filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas because his daughter Linda Brown, was not allowed inside public schools meant for white kids. Oliver Brown built the argument for his case based on the fact that public schools meant for African American kids were not equal to those meant for white kids, violating the first section of the fourteenth amendment. The whole concept of the Brown vs. Board of Education case is based on the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment which states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § I) meaning equal protection is guaranteed to all united states citizens. It was passed during the reconstruction period in order to make slavery illegal and establish equal rights for African Americans.

    The case first went up against the U.S. District Court. They agreed that the segregation in public schools gave a sense of inferiority to white kids but still upheld what it said in the fourteenth amendment. Brown vs. Board of Education ruled unanimously that the segregation of African American kids in schools goes against the constitution. It was a major milestone for the civil rights movements and helped expose the precedent claiming that all Americans holding “separate but equal” educations along with other acts of ministrations was false. The segregation of African American kids deprived them of getting an equal education based on the color of their skin. African American kids were denied the right to attend the same schools as white kids. The educations of white kids was held in the hands of private owners, making it impossible for African American kids to get any form of education.

    [bookmark: _Hlk40380633]Before the case of Brown vs. Board of Education there was Plessy vs. Ferguson. Homer Plessy did not want to sit in a vehicle that was meant for “Blacks only” so he was arrested and taken to court. In this case, Plessy pleaded the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendment. The thirteenth amendment states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (U.S. Const., amend. XIII, § I) this is the amendment that abolished slavery, and the fifteenth amendment states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” (U.S. Const., amend. XV, § I) meaning that a person could not be denied the right to vote based on the color of their skin. The supreme court ruled that ‘separate but equal’ clause was perfectly fine and that there was nothing unconstitutional about the case; Plessy lost. In Brown vs. Board of Education, the supreme court ruled segregation in schools would be illegal according to the constitution.

    Another case that played a significant part in Brown vs. Board of Education was the Sweatt vs. Painter case in 1950. In this case the “separate but equal” doctrine was challenged, and it also established proof of racial segregation for the Brown vs. Board of Education. This case was about an African American man named Heman Marion Sweatt who was not accepted in the University of Texas, Law. The reason he was refused was based on the fact that he was black, and the university prohibited integrated education. The court ruled that he was denied admission on the basis that he lacked the necessary qualities that were needed in order for him to attend the law school. A quote from an article from PBS stated that “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; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. 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.” (10) this was the Chief Justice Warrens delivered opinion of the court. It was also said that “In the instant cases, that question is directly presented. Here, unlike Sweatt v. Painter, there are findings below that the Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other ‘tangible’ factors. Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases. We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.” In an article written on PBS.Org website by editors.

    Oliver Brown’s lawsuit was introduced to the supreme court in 1952. Along with four previous cases related to the segregation of African Americans. All of these cases were incorporated into one case they decided was going to be named “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka”. At the time, Thurgood Marshall was in charge of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP defense team, he served as the defense attorney for the plaintiffs. In later years he was appointed as the first African American Supreme Court justice.

    In this case, what would be considered the third party is Thurgood Marshall. He served as the lawyer defending Brown on the case. His motivations were because he has witnessed nothing but discrimination against black people all his life and has even experienced it himself. His mother was an elementary school teacher who held the same position as her fellow white teacher coworkers, she was paid significantly less than them. When it was time for him to go to attend college, he could not go to the college of his choice because he was African American. Instead he attended Howard University. When he graduated he filed a lawsuit against the first college of his choice, and he won. This forced the University of Maryland to consolidate its institution by banning segregation.

    Charles Hamilton from Howard Law School introduced Marshall into the defense fund for NAACP, their work inspired the collection of cases to be named Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. When the case was introduced to the Supreme Court, Marshall’s argument was that the separation of black and white children because of the color of their skin was a violation of African American kids’ civil rights and it was unconstitutional according to the fourteenth amendment. He also implied that the only reason for the continuation of separating kids by the color of their skin in public schools was to maintain the institution of slavery.

    The case was very long but Thurgood Marshall assured the public that despite the verdict, it was going to be a very long fight. Soon later, the Supreme Court unanimously made the decision to bring down segregation in schools that lead up to the Civil Rights movement.

    In conclusion, this famous class action case is a great example of litigation because it is a lawsuit that was the result of the violation of the civil rights of African Americans. It showed how one group of people’s rights were violated so they took it to court and fought until they won. When one case did not win they still continued to fight every single chance they got. The third party in this case’s motivations drove them to be great representatives that fought for their party. The result left the plaintiffs satisfied and inspired many other cases.

    References

    1. Barbara Hochman. (2010). Devouring Uncle Tom’s Cabin : Black Readers between Plessy vs Ferguson and Brown vs Board of Education. Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History, 2(2), 48-94. doi:10.5325/reception.2.2.0048
    2. Barthé, D. (2012). Racial revisionism, caste revisited: Whiteness, blackness, and Barack Obama. In Jolivette A. (Ed.), Obama and the biracial factor: The battle for a new American majority (pp. 81-96). Bristol: Bristol University Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt9qgxwf.9
    3. Croley, S. (2017). Features of a Well-Working Civil Litigation System: A Framework. In Civil Justice Reconsidered: Toward a Less Costly, More Accessible Litigation System (pp. 51-72). New York: NYU Press. doi: 10.2307/j.ctt1ggjjf0.7
    4. Croley, S. (2017). The Benefits of Civil Litigation: The Premise. In Civil Justice Reconsidered: Toward a Less Costly, More Accessible Litigation System (pp. 28-50). New York: NYU Press. doi: 10.2307/j.ctt1ggjjf0.6
    5. DeLacy, G. (1957). The Segregation Cases: A Judicial Problem Judicially Solved. American Bar Association Journal, 43(6), 519-521. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/25720027
    6. Duignan, B., 2020. Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka | Definition, Facts, & Significance. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2020].
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, John F. Kain, and Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. ‘New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement,’ Journal of Labor Economics 27, no. 3: 349-383. https://doi.org/10.1086/600386
    8. Fairweather, J. (2006). Litigation. In A Common Hunger: Land Rights in Canada and South Africa (pp. 97-116). Calgary, Alberta, Canada: University of Calgary Press. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv6cfpdm.11
    9. Frederickson, M., Harrold, S., & Miller, R. (2011). Labor, Race, and Homer Plessy’s Freedom Claim. In Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor from Reconstruction to Globalization (pp. 11-34). Gainesville, Tallahassee, Tampa, Boca Raton, Pensacola, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Ft. Myers, Sarasota: University Press of Florida. doi:10.2307/j.ctvx07b8s.8
    10. Guinier, L. (2004, June 1). From Racial Liberalism to Racial Literacy: Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Divergence Dilemma. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/91/1/92/799945
    11. HAWS, R. (2008). Supreme Court. In WILSON C. (Author) & ELY J. & BOND B. (Eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 10: Law and Politics (pp. 73-78). University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469616742_ely.21
    12. History.Com Editors, 2020. Brown V. Board of Education. [online] HISTORY. Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2020].
    13. History.Com Editors, 2020. Plessy V. Ferguson. [online] HISTORY. Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2020].
    14. Hochman, B. (2011). Epilogue.: Devouring Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Black Readers between Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education. In ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and the Reading Revolution: Race, Literacy, Childhood, and Fiction, 1851–1911 (pp. 231-252). University of Massachusetts Press. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vk82q.13
    15. Kris Gutierrez, Betsy Rymes, and Joanne Larson (1995) Script, Counterscript, and Underlife in the Classroom: James Brown versus Brown v. Board of Education. Harvard Educational Review: September 1995, Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 445-472.
    16. Newman, J. (1985). Rethinking Fairness: Perspectives on the Litigation Process. The Yale Law Journal, 94(7), 1643-1659. doi:10.2307/796214
    17. O’Connor, S. (1992). Thurgood Marshall: The Influence of a Raconteur. Stanford Law Review, 44, 1217-1220. doi:10.2307/1229051
    18. Orfield, S., 2020. Dismantling Desegregation. The Quiet Reversal of Brown V. Board of Education.. [online] Eric.ed.gov. Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2020].
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    20. Supreme Court of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://www-tc.pbs.org/beyondbrown/brownpdfs/browndecision.pdf

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