The Exponent is continuing our interview series to cover the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices unanimously ruled that the racial segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. It was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, helping to abolish the precedent of “separate but equal.”
According to Oyez, the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka court case was a consolidation of cases arising in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and Washington D.C. in relation to the segregation of public schools. In each case, Black students had been denied admittance into certain public schools based on laws that allowed public schools to be segregated by race. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court, which held that “separate but equal” facilities are, “inherently unequal and violate the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Supreme Court found that racial segregation in public education instilled a sense of inferiority that was largely detrimental to the personal growth of Black children. Warren founded much of his opinion on information from social science studies instead of court precedent.
Mrs. Kecia King is a first-grade teacher at Westview Elementary School here in Platteville.
What impacts did the Brown v. Board of Education decision have on primary education in the past?
Brown v. Board of Education established a precedent for having more equality when equality was not the norm.
What do you believe the legacy of this court case is for primary education?
The legacy of this court case is to build a more equal society through education. This case opened many doors for fair and equal learning for all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.
What can primary educators do to live out the legacy of this case?
Primary educators can continue to see fair and equal education as something that is guaranteed to all.
As an educator, how do you strive to raise awareness about segregation and equal education?
As an educator, I strive to keep education equal for all by welcoming all students, regardless of their culture or background, into my classroom.