America-Civil Rights

Brown V Topeka Board of Education, 1954

May 1954: Oliver Brown uses the Supreme Court ruling to take the city of Kansas to court – for forcing his daughter to attend a blacks only school a mile away, instead of being able to go to a whites only school 7 blocks away.
  The NAACP supported the case.
  They argued that ‘separate but equal’ wasn’t true of separate schools as it sent a message of inequality to black children.
  At first the court ruled in favour of the Board of Education. The NAACP appealed and…
  1954: the Supreme Court declared that all segregated schools were unconstitutional.
      This provoked an extremist reaction from the KKK – calling desegregation “communist”.

1955: the Supreme Court ordered all states with segregated schools to integrate black and white students.
A change to the laws on segregation; schools had to be integrated.
Giant step towards the complete de-segregation of schools.
The law has been seen to support black people and their cause.
Membership of NAACP is increased bcause of a greater degree of public awareness.
Jan 1956 - Elementary schools across Topeka organised by area rather than colour (CRM victory).
What was achieved?
Segregation was not abolished in other public areas.
There was no time limit on the de-segregation of schools.
Following the case membership to the KKK increased dramatically.
What problems remained?

Bus Boycott, 1955

ROSA PARKS: Had been involved with the NAACP since the early 1940s.
Rosa had clashed with driver James Blake in 1943, and got on his bus in 1955 by mistake!
Parks was perfect for the media: she was very respectable, a Christian and a valued member of the Community.

Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old girl, had also been arrested for not giving up her seat, despite the fact that she remained within the law in doing so.
The black leaders in the city saw the Colvin incident as a missed opportunity, and so were ready to pounce when Rosa Parks was arrested....