U.S. Courts mark 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

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May 17 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark case that ended legal segregation in the United States. The federal courts are commemorating the historic Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Brown v. Board of Education with a variety of online resources.

The resources are designed as educational tools and include lesson plans for a reader's theater re-enactment of the case that includes speaking parts for 10 key figures in the case. They include Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case in 1954 as a lawyer for the NAACP; Topeka, Kansas, elementary school student Linda Brown; and then-Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The site also includes a history of the case and a profile of Thurgood Marshall as a justice of the Supreme Court.

Also available on the U.S. Courts website is a history of Brown v. Board of Education and related predecessor cases dating to the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, along with a podcast on Brown v. Board of Education.

60 years later

Kevin D. Brown, professor in the IU Maurer School of Law, called the decision "a turning point in American history." Even though it ultimately had a limited effect on school desegregation, he said, it had a far-reaching impact on American society.

“Recall that in 1954, people of African descent were called Negroes or colored out of respect, and coon, darkie and even black as an insult," Brown said. "The court's opinion preceded by 10 years the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by 11 years the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Segregation and conscious racial discrimination were the explicit law of the land in many areas of the country.

"Thus, while a reflection on this anniversary may acknowledge the frustration that comes with recognizing we still have a long way to go regarding race relations, it must also celebrate the success by pointing out how far we have come," Brown added.

Carlton Mark Waterhouse, professor of law at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, notes the decision created a tremendous sense of expectation. Many believed the nation's schools would no longer be segregated, either by law or in fact.

But that hasn't happened, he said. De facto segregation continued as many whites moved to the suburbs or transferred their children to private schools. Schools grew less segregated for 20 years, but progress stalled, he expained.

"Today we find that schools in many places are more segregated than they were in the '70s," Waterhouse said. "That is, I think, discouraging to people. We tend to view ourselves as a less biased society today. But these consequences and outcomes suggest there are still ways in which race is affecting the education of our children."

Read more analysis of the impact of Brown v. Board of Education.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

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  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.