Equal Access - Race, Representation, and the State
Two Supreme Court cases, among others, shaped the legal catalyst for the civil rights movement. Equal access and equal protection under the law were unanswered questions in the legal system in the 20th century, and arguably still today. Review both cases below. Click on the title of the case to review the information about the cases. Answer the questions below.
While Brown v. Board of Education is a widely known landmark Supreme Court case, few can trace its origins to the case of nine-year-old Sylvia Mendez in Mendez v. Westminster.
Sylvia’s case, which was decided in the federal courts in California, preceded Brown by about eight years. Thurgood Marshall represented Sylvia Mendez and Linda Brown. Marshall used some of the same arguments from Mendez to win Brown v. Board of Education.
The second - Brown v Board of Education.
The case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Once again, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled these cases.
Although it acknowledged some of the plaintiffs’/plaintiffs claims, a three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Why nonviolence? MLK Jr & Malcolm X
Within the civil rights movement there were two major camps regarding the most effective strategy to deal with overtly racist policies. For many years Martin Luther King, Jr. sat at one pole of the nonviolence question while Malcolm X sat on the other. While one would profess the importance of humility and forgiveness of those that wrong us the other believed in self defense by any means necessary.
In addition to your regular reading for the blog post this week I would like you to read Malcolm X (Ballot or the Bullet speech) and Martin Luther King Jr. (Nonviolence and Racial Justice). Answer the following questions in your post.