Brown v. Board of Education, Document D: Dissenting Opinion, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Do you use document-based questions in your classroom?

This fall the Bill of Rights Institute is blogging a document-based question on the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Each weekly post will feature an excerpted document related to the case, along with some questions to guide your thinking on it. Each document should be used to address the question: “Assess the role played by the Court as the protector of individual rights against the tyranny of the majority in Brown v. Board of Education.”

Check out our previous posts for Document A, an excerpt from the Virginia criminal code; Document B, a section of the Fourteenth Amendment; and Document C, an excerpt from the majority opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Dissenting Opinion, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

[I]n the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law….The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law.

>Compare and contrast the ideas in this comment with those in Document B.

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Check back each week to see the next document and how it might change your thinking on this important question that affects all public school teachers and students in the U.S.! If you are enjoying this DBQ – be sure to check out our curriculum Supreme Court DBQs: Exploring the Cases the Changed History.

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