For Law Students

Join Now

Loss for segregated schools is a win for civil rights (Brown v. Board of Education)

Brown v. Board of Education

This is the latest in a series of case brief videos. Have you signed up for your Quimbee membership? The American Bar Association offers three months of online Quimbee study aids for law student members. And if you go Premium, you’ll receive Quimbee’s Outline on Legal Ethics as part of our Premium Legal Ethics Bundle – a $29 value.

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 283 (1954), one of the most famous United States Supreme Court cases of the 20th Century, effectively ended legal racial segregation in U.S. public schools.

Brown expressly overturned the 1896 precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which held that states could constitutionally pass segregation laws, so long as the public facilities provided to the different races were “separate but equal.” In Brown, five cases from states across the country were consolidated.

In each case, black children had been refused admission to local public schools for white children and had sued for redress in state court. The position of the children (through their representatives) was that not only were the public schools provided for black children unequal to those provided for white children, but they could never be made equal.

Writing for the unanimous Court, Chief Justice Warren held that “[s]eparate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and thus violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Although the subsequent involvement of federal district courts in supervising the desegregation of public schools was not uncontroversial, Brown was a historic victory for the American Civil Rights Movement for its holding that, at least when it comes to public schools, segregation laws were unconstitutional.


Quimbee Quimbee is one of the most widely used and respected study aids for law students. With a massive and growing library of case briefs, video lessons, practice exams, and multiple-choice questions, Quimbee helps its members achieve academic success in law school.