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Civil Rights: Brown vs. Board of Education

 

In 1950, members of the Topeka, Kansas, Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine governing public education through a class action suit when they were denied the opportunity to enroll their children in the white-only schools. When the Topeka case made its way to the United States Supreme Court it was combined with other NAACP cases from Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. The combined cases became known as Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. The Board of Education of Topeka (KS). On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision overturning "separate but equal" as unconstitutional, stating that segregation in public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment.

Complaint against Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, February 26, 1951 [U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, Brown v Board of Education, Box 1, Documents 1-23]

Court order, Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, March 1, 1951 [U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, Brown v Board of Education, Box 1, Documents 1-23]

Memorandum, DDE to Secretary of Defense re: Segregation in Schools on Army Posts, March 20, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (1)]

Letter, Texas Gov. Allan Shivers to DDE re: school segregation, July 16, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (1)]

Letter, DDE to Texas Gov. Allan Shivers re: school segregation, July 21, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (1)]

Letter, DDE to South Carolina Gov. James Byrnes stating his views on school segregation, August 14, 1953 [DDE’s Papers as President, DDE Diary Series, Box 3, DDE Diary Aug-Sept 1953 (2)]

Letter, Louisiana Gov. Robert Kennon to DDE, November 20, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (3)]

Letter, South Carolina Gov. James Byrnes to DDE, November 20, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (3)]

Letter, DDE to Louisiana Gov. Robert Kennon, November 30, 1953 [DDE’s Records as President, Official File, Box 614, OF-142-A-4 Negro Matters - Colored Question - Segregation - Integration (3)]

Letter, DDE to South Carolina Gov. James Byrnes, December 1, 1953 [DDE’s Papers as President, DDE Diary Series, Box 4, DDE Diary December 1953 (2)]

Letter, DDE to Swede Hazlett, boyhood friend, Captain, USN, October 23, 1954 [Swede Hazlett Papers, Box 2, 1954 October 23]

Supreme Court opinion, May 31, 1955 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 8, Brownell 1955-56 (2)]

Letter, DDE to Swede Hazlett, boyhood friend, Captain, USN, July 22, 1957 [Swede Hazlett Papers, Box 2, 1957 July 22]

Images in the audiovisual collection

For additional information please see:

Civil Rights Subject Guide