American History The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement Brown vs. Board of Education and Little Rock Nine

In 1954 another Supreme Court case was tried.

Oliver Brown who lived in Topeka, Kansas tried to enroll his 7 year old daughter Linda in a new school that was close to their home. The school rejected her application.

The NAACP thought this to be the ideal case to take to court. The case was filed in 1951, and eventually reached the Supreme Court in what was a combination of five similar cases. Thurgood Marshall argued the case before the court. His main argument was that separate school systems were unequal and violated the "equal protection clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

After three years, on May 17, 1954, the Court ruled there was no such thing as separate but equal. Some schools obeyed the ruling immediately, but others found ways to avoid integration. President Eisenhower did not push the schools to obey immediately.

Map of Educational Segregation in the US Prior to Brown vs Broard of Education

In 1957 when the courts ordered integration in the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, Governor Faubus refused to obey. When nine young African Americans came to enroll at Little Rock Central High School, mobs of people threw rocks and yelled at the students. This caused President Eisenhower to act on the law. He sent soldiers to Little Rock to make sure the students were enrolled. It was many months before these students were treated fairly by their classmates.

Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

The 101st Airborne Division escorted nine students into the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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