Brown v. Board of Education at 50: a celebration and a challenge.Part history lesson, part celebration, part personal challenge to truly accept that all persons are created equal, the Florida Supreme Court honored the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Brown v. Board of Education (of Topeka)
(1954) U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. with a special ceremony May 17.
From the testimony of Justice Peggy Quince Peggy A. Quince (born 1948) has been a Justice of the Florida Supreme Court since 1999. She is the first African-American woman to sit on the state's highest Court and the third female Justice. From 1993 to 1997 she served as a judge on Florida's Second District Court of Appeal. of still going to segregated schools in Virginia a decade after the decision, to a rousing rendition of "Never Give Up" sung by Tallahassee high school teacher Pamela Patterson that had the audience swaying to the beat, the hour-and-a half-program inspired a packed courtroom to take the principles of equality to heart.
Everyone gathered to honor what Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead Harry Lee Anstead has been a Justice of the Florida Supreme Court since 1994, and he served as Chief Justice from July 1, 2002 until June 30, 2004. Prior to his appointment to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Lawton Chiles, Anstead served as a judge on Florida's Fourth called "the most important human rights decision ever rendered."
School children listened in amazement at how things used to be, while their elders who suffered through those shameful times nodded in recognition of an era when blacks could not vote, serve on juries, or go to school with whites, when race riots This is a list of race riots by country. Australia
Retired Justice Leander Shaw set the scene, detailing history from when the colonies met in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution to a divided nation during the Civil War, to the 1896 Plessey v. Ferguson decision that ushered in the era of "separate but equal" and made a mockery of the equal protections of the 14th Amendment.
Shaw continued his history lesson to the early 1950s, when an 8-year-old third-grader named Linda Brown was barred from a public school conveniently located seven blocks from her house--just because she was black.
"Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 47 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873, was the most significant of a series of judicial decisions overturning segregation laws—laws that separate whites and blacks. " is one of those rare landmark cases that fundamentally and forever changed Forever Changed was a Christian Rock band from Tallahassee and Orlando, FL. They came together in 1999 and broke up in 2006. Dan Cole was the lead singer, a guitarist, and a pianist. Ben O'Rear was the lead guitarist, Tom Gustafson played bass, and Nathan Lee played the drums. the face of America," Shaw said, adding its impact reaches far beyond the simple issue of public school integration.
"It was the opening salvo in the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, a movement that changed the social and political fabric in America. It was a giant step in the direction of fulfilling America's promise America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth is a foundation started by Colin Powell in 1997 to help children and youth from all socioeconomic sectors in the United States. of freedom, justice, and equality for ail, and equality for all of Florida's citizens," Shaw said.
"In Brown, we see the nation's highest court in a unanimous opinion, ignoring three-quarters of a century of precedent and responding to evolving special values."
An undercurrent to the ceremony's message was that change was still slow to come after the 1954 landmark decision A landmark decision is the outcome of a legal case (often thus referred to as a landmark case) that establishes a precedent that either substantially changes the interpretation of the law or that simply establishes new case law on a particular issue. , and the challenge continues to this day.
With passion propelling his words, Miami lawyer H.T. Smith reenacted arguments made by a team of NAACP NAACP
in full National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization. It was founded in 1909 to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for African Americans; W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. lawyers for Brown, delivered by Thurgood Marshall:
"The whole world is waiting to see whether this court will say to Negro children that they are not entitled to the same liberties to learn as other children, simply because they are black.
... We are not like the animals in George Orwell's satirical novel, Animal Farm, where after the revolution, the dictator changed the sign that read all animals are created equal, to read, 'but some animals are more equal than others.' There is no provision in the Constitution of the United States of America CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The fundamental law of the United States.
2. It was framed by a convention of the representatives of the people, who met at Philadelphia, and finally adopted it on the 17th day of September, 1787. that reads, 'All men are created equal, but white men are more equal.' Under the provisions of this Constitution, and under the protection of this court, the Negro proclaims to the world today that he, too, is equal."
Just as a crowd gathered 50 years ago at the nation's highest court during the noon hour on May 17 to await the ruling, the current audience gathered at Florida's high court in 2004, and imagined the words recited by Chief Justice Anstead were those of Chief Justice Earl Warren:
"In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life, if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity where the state has undertaken to provide it is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.... We conclude that the public education doctrine of separate but equal has no place. Separate education facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated similarly situated adj. with the same problems and circumstances, referring to the people represented by a plaintiff in a "class action," brought for the benefit of the party filing the suit as well as all those "similarly situated. for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws Noun 1. equal protection of the laws - a right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution and by the due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. It is so ordered."
In the marbled mar·bled
1. Made of or covered with marble: a marbled façade.
2. Having a mix of fat and lean: a well-marbled beef roast.
Adj. 1. halls of justice in Tallahassee, where history was brought to life, applause broke out.
Bringing a personal touch to the proceedings, Justice Quince quince, shrub or small tree of the Asian genera Chaenomeles and Cydonia of the family Rosaceae (rose family). The common quince (Cydonia oblonga reeled back the years to being a little girl growing up in Virginia, one of the states involved in the Brown lawsuit.
"When the decision was announced, my father said to us, 'Now you can attend any school that you want to.' But it wasn't that easy. So in the fall of 1954, when I went off to the first grade, I went to John T. West Elementary School West Elementary School is a public elementary school located in Hillsborough, California, a suburb about 20 miles south of San Francisco, as part of the Hillsborough City School District. in Norfolk, Virginia, the segregated school. In 1954, only the cities of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, began a desegregation desegregation: see integration. program."
The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided "Brown II," Quince explained, and determined that integration should take place "with all deliberate speed."
"But therein lies the rub. What is, in fact, 'all deliberate speed'?" Quince asked.
"The Brown v. Board of Education was not the most popular decision in this country. There were many who were opposed to it. And so, in 1956, 100 members of Congress from the 11 southern states penned what they called the Southern Manifesto, whereby they determined to fight integration with all means necessary."
In Virginia, that meant the schools shut down until a federal court decision opened the doors again. And for schoolgirl Peggy, it was not until 1965 that Virginia finally decided to implement what it called the "freedom of choice plan."
"Now, I was a senior in high school ... and so I did not take advantage of their generous offer," Quince said. Her brother, just beginning high school, did choose to go to the integrated school closest to their home. But in 1968, the Supreme Court decided the "freedom of choice plan" was insufficient to accomplish integration, ushering in a new era of court decisions and strategies that included busing, and the struggle continued.
Janet Sermon, assistant dean of Florida A&M University, did choose to leave the "quality segregated schools" of Tallahassee, where she was taught with "care and compassion" and was instilled with a love of learning. In the 10th grade, she was among a select group of blacks admitted to Florida High, the Florida State University Florida State University, at Tallahassee; coeducational; chartered 1851, opened 1857. Present name was adopted in 1947. Special research facilities include those in nuclear science and oceanography. research school.
"I must say that it actually was the absolute worst year of my life, learning in a hostile environment, foreign to me," Sermon said.
Signs of prejudice may not have been blatant, but they were "subliminal subliminal /sub·lim·i·nal/ (-lim´i-n'l) below the threshold of sensation or conscious awareness.
1. Below the threshold of conscious perception. Used of stimuli. ," said Sermon, recalling how she sat in biology class shaking with fear, enduring a year of migraine headaches and falling grades. For the last two years of high school, she attended Leon High School Leon High School is a public high school in Tallahassee, Florida. For the 2005-2006 school year, the Florida Department of Education gave the school an "A" rating after its students scored well above the state average on standardized tests in reading and in math. , and proudly told how blacks were instrumental in removing the Confederate flag from the school. In her senior year, she was one of two black girls chosen as cheerleaders Notable cheerleaders
"Though we felt that was history for Leon, and especially for the students we represented, there was so much more work to be done," Sermon said.
Joseph Hatchett, the first African-American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, detailed the laborious process in Florida for parents to make written requests to schools and petition the school boards for hearings, just to fulfill the promises of Brown.
"I appeared in this courtroom my very first time, when I was a student at Florida A&M," said Hatchett, telling how his professor required all political science majors to hear a case at the Florida Supreme Court. It was Hatchett's opportunity to witness arguments in the case of Virgil Hawkins, a black man who had graduated from an unaccredited law school, because he was not allowed to attend the University of Florida University of Florida is the third-largest university in the United States, with 50,912 students (as of Fall 2006) and has the eighth-largest budget (nearly $1.9 billion per year). UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. , which meant he could not take the bar exam in Florida. Hawkins' case was filed in 1949, five years before Brown, when the law was separate but equal.
"There wasn't a black law school in the state of Florida," Hatchett said, "so there was nothing to be equal to, and yet his petition was denied."
Finally, a 69-year-old Hawkins was admitted to the Bar, and the Florida Supreme Court had a special ceremony reversing all of the court's previous decisions.
Again, the courtroom erupted in applause.
"So, then, what did Brown bring us?" Hatchett asked. "It redefined race and education in our society. It eliminated all of the formal barriers to equal education opportunities. And it provided a quality education for all children, not just white children. The legacy of Brown is a society with a new set of cultural and educational values.
"But we must not believe that the work of bringing equality to America is over. And when shall we begin? As we walk out the door!"
Video clips from the Supreme Court's ceremonial session celebrating Brown v. Board of Education can be seen on The Florida Bar's Web site at www.flabar.org.