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The Issue Endures – Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

The doctrine of “separate but equal” did not make its appearance in this Court until 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson.…

Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other “tangible” factors. Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases. We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education. …Only in this way can it be determined if segregation in public schools deprives these plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws.

  1. The Court acknowledges the growing “equality” of schools for blacks and whites. Why, then, will the Court overturn Plessy?