In 1951, thirteen families in the small district of Topeka, Kansas, got together to do something about an unjust circumstance. The board of education of their community was permitting racial segregation in the school system founded on an out of date 1879 law. The head of this group of concerned parents was Oliver J. Brown and the result of what began as a few parents trying to make life better for their kids got to be among the most infamous and influential supreme court cases in history known as Brown versus the Board of Education.
The exercise of school segregation had become a usual and accepted practice in American society in spite of numerous movements in the history of civil rights to stop the separation of black society from the white. The justification that segregation allowed for a “separate but equal” setting which profited education, the truth was it was a lightly veiled attempt to deprive African American children of the quality of education that all people require to excel in the modern world.
The case carried on to gather momentum until it came before the Supreme Court in May of 1954. The decision was sensational and decisive when it came back 9-0. The statement of the court was brief, eloquent and pertinent stating that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
Now, even such an authoritative statement from the Supreme Court didn't end the battle between segregationists and those who'd end the exercise that deprived African American children of quality education. In 1957 the Arkansas governor attempted to block the integration of schools in his state and the sole thing that could stop him was the intercession of federal troops sent off by President Eisenhower. A similar but much better publicized event occurred in Alabama where Governor George Wallace physically barricaded black students from entering the University of Alabama. It called for the intervention of federal marshals to physically remove him to ascertain that the law of the land, as mandated by The Supreme Court, was carried through. And the law of the land then and forever since then was that separatism was illegal in this country.
Since this turning point decision, there have been other dodgier attempts to resurrect segregation. But over the years, attitudes have changed to where such views on how our social institutions are established are regarded old fashioned and uneducated.
The integration of the schools was a significant step in the ongoing conflict to create a truly equal society and to better the chances of black children to grow up with the same opportunities as all other kids in this country. As many more African American children became well educated, the black population has been able to cause a strong contribution to the culture and to the furtherance of knowledge in each discipline of learning. Further, the growing number of educated black population gave rise to the black middle class which equalized society from an economic point of view. As African Americans started to participate in all of the economic opportunities that middle class prosperity gave them, the chances for whites, blacks and people of all races and cultures to mix has been healthy to mend the scars of racism and gradually erase divisions in the culture.
But perhaps the most important result of integration of the schools is the opportunity it has granted for children of all races to learn, play and grow unitedly. As young black and white students have attended classes, gotten to football games and hung out at pep rallies collectively, they've become friends. They have had opportunities to work together on teams and socialize under a lot of situations and as that has become the social norm and racism started to evaporate from the hearts of young America.
As a result, younger generations look on racism as an unusual and primitive viewpoint from long ago and not in step with an up to date aspect of the world. This kind of true credence both by whites toward blacks and by blacks toward whites will go further to ultimately end racial separation and intolerance compared to any riot or protest or march or even ruling from the Supreme Court could ever do. And we have Oliver Brown and that small group of parents from Topeka, Kansas to give thanks for this. By doing what was best for their children, they did something marvelous for all of America’s children both now and for generations to come.