This week in history: Brown v. Board of education


On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling on the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ending racial segregation in public facilities. This week marks the 59th anniversary of the ruling.

Six Black children completed their first week of work at nearby Griffin School July 23, 1955, the first Kentucky public school to attempt integration. (AP Photo)
Brown
Six Black children completed their first week of work at nearby Griffin School July 23, 1955, the first Kentucky public school to attempt integration. (AP Photo)
An original photo of the Robert Russa Moton High School auditorium used by the defense in the Brown v. Board of Education on display at the National Archives Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education the National Archives is displaying documents used in this landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
BROWN BOARD
An original photo of the Robert Russa Moton High School auditorium used by the defense in the Brown v. Board of Education on display at the National Archives Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education the National Archives is displaying documents used in this landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Selected pages from the Supreme Court's ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case is shown on display at the National Archives, Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of the historic ruling the National Archives is displaying documents and photographs used in the landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
BROWN BOARD
Selected pages from the Supreme Court's ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case is shown on display at the National Archives, Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of the historic ruling the National Archives is displaying documents and photographs used in the landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
An original document from the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka on display at the National Archives, Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education the National Archives is displaying documents used in this landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
BROWN BOARD
An original document from the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka on display at the National Archives, Wednesday, April 14, 2004, in Washington. In marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education the National Archives is displaying documents used in this landmark case.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Work on the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site continues March 3, 2004, in Topeka, Kan. The site is housed in the Monroe School building and is to open May 17, 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the famous ruling. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
MONROE SCHOOL
Work on the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site continues March 3, 2004, in Topeka, Kan. The site is housed in the Monroe School building and is to open May 17, 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the famous ruling. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
George E.C. Hayes, left, Thurgood Marshall, center, and James M. Nabrit pose outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on May 17, 1954. The three lawyers led the fight for abolition of segregation in public schools before the Supreme Court, which ruled today that segregation is unconstitutional. (AP Photo)
Hayes Marshall Nabrit
George E.C. Hayes, left, Thurgood Marshall, center, and James M. Nabrit pose outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on May 17, 1954. The three lawyers led the fight for abolition of segregation in public schools before the Supreme Court, which ruled today that segregation is unconstitutional. (AP Photo)
Thurgood Marshall, right, chief legal counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), talks with student Elizabeth Eckford in the corridor of the Federal Courthouse at Little Rock, Ark., where a hearing on the integration case of Central High School is being held, Sepember 7, 1954. 15-year old Elizabeth was the first of nine black students to attempt to enter the school on opening day, only to be turned away by Arkansas National Guard troops following orders of Gov. Orval Faubus to block the main entrance. (AP Photo)
Brown
Thurgood Marshall, right, chief legal counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), talks with student Elizabeth Eckford in the corridor of the Federal Courthouse at Little Rock, Ark., where a hearing on the integration case of Central High School is being held, Sepember 7, 1954. 15-year old Elizabeth was the first of nine black students to attempt to enter the school on opening day, only to be turned away by Arkansas National Guard troops following orders of Gov. Orval Faubus to block the main entrance. (AP Photo)
Linda Brown Smith stands in front of the Sumner School in Topeka, Kan., on May 8, 1964. The refusal of the public school to admit Brown in 1951, then nine years old, because she is black, led to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the "separate but equal" clause and mandated that schools nationwide must be desegregated. (AP Photo)
Brown
Linda Brown Smith stands in front of the Sumner School in Topeka, Kan., on May 8, 1964. The refusal of the public school to admit Brown in 1951, then nine years old, because she is black, led to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the "separate but equal" clause and mandated that schools nationwide must be desegregated. (AP Photo)

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