Need help with your Assignment?

Get a timely done, PLAGIARISM-FREE paper
from our highly-qualified writers!

The Law and Racial Segregation

The Law and Racial Segregation

The shift in the Supreme Court’s stance on racial segregation from Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) can be attributed to several significant changes over nearly six decades that separate the two cases. Considering the period based on societal change, aspects of civil rights movements and changing social attitudes could have changed. Essentially, the period between these two landmark cases witnessed the emergence and growth of the civil rights movement. Activists like Martin Luther King Jr. used nonviolent protests, grassroots organizing, and legal challenges to challenge segregation and demand racial equality (Isaack et al., 2020). These efforts galvanized public opinion against segregation. At the same time, societal attitudes evolved. The horrors of World War II and the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy abroad while maintaining segregation at home became increasingly evident. Many Americans came to view segregation as morally wrong and incompatible with the principles of equality and justice.

Based on scientific research, social scientists conducted numerous studies that demonstrated the harmful effects of segregation on the psychological and educational development of African American children during the mid-20th century. Notably, this research provided empirical evidence that separate accommodations were inherently unequal. During the same period, legal evolution took place. For instance, other significant Supreme Court decisions informed legal precedents, such as Gaines v. Canada (1938) and Smith v. Allwright (1944), apart from that of Plessy and Brown, which chipped away at the “separate but equal” doctrine established in Plessy (McWilliams, 2019). These cases hinted at the Court’s willingness to reevaluate segregation. During almost six decades, the composition of the Supreme Court changed. By 1954, justices were more sympathetic to civil rights and racial equality. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who presided over Brown, was instrumental in building a unanimous decision against segregation.


Isaac, L. W., Coley, J. S., Cornfield, D. B., & Dickerson, D. C. (2020). Pathways to modes of movement participation: Micromobilization in the Nashville civil rights movement. Social Forces99(1), 255-280.

McWilliams, C. (2019). The Civil Rights Movement. African Americans and the First Amendment the Case for Liberty and Equality: The Case for Liberty and Equality, 63.


We’ll write everything from scratch


The Law and Racial Segregation

The Law and Racial Segregation

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that separate accommodations based on race were constitutional. 58 years later, in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the court ruled that separate accommodations based on race were inherently unequal and so unconstitutional.
For this discussion forum, explain what you think changed over the course of nearly 6 decades to get a different result. Consider not only the law but also society, scientific research, and who was in the High Court each time.

Order Solution Now