On this day May 17, 1954

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing racial segregation in public schools because “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”.Educational separation

As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

Not everyone accepted the Brown v. Board of Education decision. In Virginia, Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. organized the Massive Resistance movement that included the closing of schools rather than desegregating them.

In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out his state’s National Guard to block black students’ entry to Little Rock High School. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by deploying elements of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Arkansas and by federalizing Faubus’ National Guard.

Also in 1957, Florida’s response was mixed. Its legislature passed an Interposition Resolution denouncing the decision and declaring it null and void. But Florida Governor Thomas LeRoy Collins refused to sign it arguing that the state must follow the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace personally blocked the door to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent the enrollment of two black students in what became known as the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door. This became the infamous “Stand at the Schoolhouse Door,” where Wallace personally backed his “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” policy that he had stated in his 1963 inaugural address. He moved aside only when confronted by federal marshals and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.

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