Brown v. Board of Education of TopekaU.S. Case Law
Legal Definition of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
347 U.S. 483 (1954); 349 U.S. 294 (1955), ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which says that no state may deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction. The 1954 decision declared that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal. Brown reversed the Court's earlier ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that permitted “separate but equal” public facilities. The 1954 decision was limited to the public schools, but it was believed to imply that segregation was not permissible in other public facilities. The 1955 decision laid out guidelines for ending segregation and advised that school boards must proceed “with all deliberate speed” to satisfy the guidelines.
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