The lawyers for the Board of Education argued that many people, including black scholars, did not see a problem with having black students attend all black schools. The lawyers for the Browns argued that the only reason for separate education for Blacks and Whites would be if there was proof that black children were different than everyone else.
At that time there were several cases in the United States similar to this one, cases that challenged separate schools for black and white students. They were started in the states of South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware.
The momentous decision that was made two years later is still viewed as one of the most important and significant rulings that the High Court has made in the last century.
After the case was reheard in 1953, Chief Justice Warren was able to do something that his predecessor had not—i.e. bring all of the Justices to agree to support a unanimous decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ."
Meeting to decide the case, the Justices of the Supreme Court realized that they were deeply divided over the issues raised. While most wanted to reverse Plessy and declare segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, they had various reasons for doing so. Unable to come to a solution by June 1953 (the end of the Court's 1952-1953 term), the Court decided to rehear the case in December 1953.
When the cases came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court consolidated all five cases under the name of Brown v. Board of Education.
Although it acknowledged some of the plantiffs’ claims, a three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plantiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
the Court made the unusual decision to rely on social science more than legal precedent. In its arguments and brief, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund had provided the testimony of more than 30 social scientists affirming the harmful effects of segregation on blacks and whites.
In Brown, the Court dealt directly with segregation and ruled that even if tangible factors like facilities, teachers and supplies were equal, separation itself was inherently unequal and a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. With Brown, the Court effectively overturned the infamous 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson which had permitted racial segregation under the guise of "separate but equal."
Although the case of Brown v. the Board of Education has not solved all of the racial and segregation problems in this country, it was a major step in the right direction.
Linda's parents sued in federal district court on the basis that separate facilities for blacks were inherently unequal.
Linda Brown was an eight year old black child who had to cross Topeka, Kansas to attend grade school, while her white friends were able to attend classes at a public school just a few blocks away. The Topeka School system was segregated on the basis of race, and under the separate but equal doctrine, this arrangement was acceptable and legal.