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Conclusion The Supreme Courts Brown v Board of Education decision did not abolish segregation in other public areas such as restaurants and restrooms nor did it require desegregation of public schools by a specific time It did however declare the permissive or mandatory segregation that existed in 21 states unconstitutional It was a giant step towards complete desegregation of public schools Even partial desegregation of these schools however was still very far away as would soon become apparent In 1896 the Supreme Court had held in Plessy v Ferguson that racial segregation was permissible as long as equal facilities were provided for both races Although that decision involved only passenger accommodations on a rail road the principle of separate but equal was applied thereafter to all aspects of public life in states with large black populations Brown v Board of Education of Topeka Kansas decided on May 17 1954 was one of the most important cases in the history of the US Supreme Court Linda Brown had been denied admission to an elementary school in Topeka because she was black Brought together under the Brown designation were companion cases from South Carolina Virginia and Delaware all of which involved the same basic question Does the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment prohibit racial segregation in the public schools It was not until the late 1940s that the Court began to insist on equality of treatment but it did not squarely face the constitutionality of the separate but equal doctrine until it decided the Brown case In a brief unanimous opinion delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren the Court declared that separate education facilities are inherently unequal and that racial segregation violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment In a moving passage the chief justice argued that separating children in the schools solely on racial grounds generates a felling of inferiority as to their status in the community that
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