An important aspect of economic, political and cultural progress towards racial justice and equality, particularly in the field of education is a case of Brown v. Board of Education adopted in 1954. It was one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions made in the twentieth century. The case stated that the racial discrimination of children in public and private schools or colleges did not meet the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, mainly the Equal Protection Clause. Moreover, Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case heart in the United States Supreme Court that claimed prohibition of establishing separate public or private education facilities for white and black students.
The Declaration of Independence claimed that all individuals were equal. Despite this fact, the statement was not implemented until the end of the Civil War. Government and the Supreme Court had adopted several provisions aimed at improving lives of black people in economic and educational spheres. The Thirteenth Amendment of 1865 abolished slavery while the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 gave more legal rights to people set free from slavery. Furthermore, the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 strengthened political rights of black people by giving them the right to vote. However, these amendments did not fully protected African Americans from discrimination and violation of their rights. It was particularly evident in the area of education, where they were denied to obtain education together with white people. Therefore, the United States of America required more effective law on protecting the rights for education of African Americans ("History of Brown v. Board of Education," n.d.).
A case named as Brown v. Board of Education aimed at solving the problem. The case involved five separate cases concerning segregation in public schools heard by the Supreme Court on the United States. They included Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County, Briggs v. Elliot, Gebhart v. Ethel, as well as Boiling v. Sharpe. It is important to note that each of these cases was slightly different. However, the main issue in each of them was the prohibition of segregation in public schools ("History of Brown v. Board of Education," n.d.).
In 1952, all cases appeared before the U. S. Supreme Court. After it, the Court included all cases into one called Brown v. Board of Education. It was Thurgood Marshall who defended the problem stated in the case before the Supreme Court. He spoke about a wide range of legal and economic issues at the same time pointing at one particular area concerning the necessity of establishment of equal school system for white and black students. However, the court decided to move the case to the next year with the purpose of investigating whether the Equal Protection Clause stated in the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited the functioning of separate public schools and colleges for white and black students. In 1954, the unanimous decision of Warren Court stated "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" ("History of Brown v. Board of Education," n.d.).
This decision put a start for providing equal educational opportunities for African Americans. The landmark case claimed that the provision requiring segregation of public schools according to race was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education extended the federal control over education as previously only states and localities had power to govern this area. The case also signaled the establishment of a new era concerning active federal intervention into the field of education with the aim of defending and guaranteeing the civil rights to all American citizens. Moreover, the case had a significant impact on education. This remarkable influence is evident even today.
Zirkel and Cantor (2004) argue that Brown v. Board of Education had several strengths. First, it outlined human sufferings caused by racial discrimination and violation of rights. Second, the case focused on the central role of education and argued for putting an end to racial segregation in the area of education. Third, it set a start for implementing civil rights promoted in the 1960s. Fourth, it serves as a turning point for abolishing psychological implications of discrimination and racism. Furthermore, the decision made in Brown v. Board of Education case was important because it overturned the separate but at the same time equal doctrine adopted in accordance with Plessy decision (Zirkel & Cantor, 2004).
While analyzing the condition of racial justice and integration in education system in recent times, it is important to underline that many schools and colleges of the United States of America remain substantially segregated by race. Despite the fact that such segregation is not state enforced, most school and college districts have obtained the right to dismantle efforts concerning desegregation of their educational establishments. In such establishments, African-American students are more likely to appear in poorly funded schools than white students are. In addition, they have a higher probability to be dropped out from college before receiving a degree.
However, despite this fact, Brown v. Board of Education has made a significant improvement in education for students of color. Zirkel and Cantor (2004) argue that in recent times they "represent two to three times the percentage of college graduates, four to seven times the percentage of law graduates, and two to four times the percentage of medical school graduates than they did in 1960" (p. 5). Furthermore, graduate schools and colleges, as well as elementary and secondary schools have improved educational opportunities for African-American students of color (Zirkel & Cantor, 2004).
The impact of Brown v. Board of Education case during past six decades has been so substantial that it is difficult to evaluate today how significant the ruling was. Taking into consideration the fact that the percentage of African-American people in the United States of America is rising, the case will prove to be successful and highly effective in the future. The census made in 2000 shows that African-American people represented approximately one-third of the American population. Out of which they represented half of the Texas population and half of the population of Hawaii, California, as well as the District of Columbia. Researchers argue that people of color will represent approximately half of the total American population by the time of the hundredth anniversary celebration of Brown v. Board of Education case (Zirkel & Cantor, 2004).
The issue concerning Brown v. Board of Education of 1954 is of great importance to professional work of students, especially for African-American students receiving education and planning to work in the United States of America. A decision made in this case has set a start to social change. The change brings a real and visible improvement perhaps only now sixty years later after hearing the case. Brown v. Board of Education is significant for professional work of students because it denies racial segregation and promotes equal right in the field of education for all American citizens: both black and white. Moreover, the case has given people the opportunity to discuss problems of identity, racial discrimination, as well as intergroup relations.
Thus, Brown v. Board of Education has made a substantial impact on the state of education the United States have in recent times. It established equal access to educational opportunities for all people. The decision made by the American Supreme Court in 1954 made a push for the civil rights movement and started a steady but slow process of cancelling racial segregation. It helped people to understand that ethnic and racial integration in the field of education is part of the United States" policy.