What historical event impacted my life? The Brown vs. Board of Education case.

Essay by lildancegurl16High School, 12th grade June 2004

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"In the state of nature...all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law." -Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

Although I was not born at that time, several events that took place in the 1950s and 1960s that have truly intrigued and impacted my life. One event in particular is the trial of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. Linda Brown was a third grade student in Topeka, Kansas. She was forced to walk miles to an elementary school for African-American children, rather than attend a school, which was located only a few blocks from her house. The closer school was reserved for white children. The trial occurred in May of 1954. The Supreme Court decided that regarding public education, "separate but equal" facilities do not apply; they are inherently unequal, and laws separating races in schools were unconstitutional.

After this ruling, African-Americans and Caucasians were able to receive the same level of education in the same facilities.

Cheryl Brown Henderson, the president of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, stated, "If people are educated, they can participate in the process. If they are not educated, they cannot. Schools provide opportunities and access cannot be denied." I completely agree, and as an African-American, this entire case means a lot to me personally. Today, education is probably the most important function of the state and local government. The ongoing efforts to erase racial stratification in the United States of America have had an effect on every aspect of my social life including employment, public accommodations, and most importantly my education. It is very captivating to think that less than fifty years ago, African-Americans were excluded from most activities, and...