Brown v. Board of Education, Document J: Majority Opinion in Brown II (1955)

Do you use document-based questions in your classroom?

This winter 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; Document C, an excerpt from the majority opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); Document D, an excerpt from the dissenting opinion in PlessyDocument E, a photo of a Washington, DC public school classroom; Document F, a picture of African American schoolgirls in a classroom; Document G, a photo of a segregated classroom; Document H, a map of the US by segregation laws; and Document I, an excerpt from the unanimous opinion in Brown v. Board of Education.

Majority Opinion in Brown II (1955)

Note: After the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared state-mandated segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the case was reargued to determine how to correct the violations.

“[T]he cases are remanded to the District Courts to take such proceedings and enter such orders and decrees consistent with this opinion as are necessary and proper to admit to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed the parties to these cases.”

>What did the Supreme Court order District Courts to do?

>How does this document reveal the Court’s dependence on other branches and levels of government for enforcement of its decisions?

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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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