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February 3, 2004 > Brown vs. Board of Education

Brown vs. Board of Education

A Milestone towards Equality

by Jeremy Inman and Suzanna Nuñez

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court made the decision to repeal the ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson, which assured the state the right to impose segregation of the races on the grounds that the facilities for both blacks and whites were equal. This ruling established the then-constitutionally supported idea that "separate but equal" didn't necessarily represent discrimination. African Americans were subject to unreasonable and excessive pro-segregation laws collectively referred to as Jim Crow Laws. Due to these laws, it was illegal for African Americans to attend the same schools, churches, or theaters, to ride in the same busses or train cars, or to even be buried in the same cemeteries.

It wasn't until 1954 that any opposition to the Plessy ruling was raised. In the Brown vs. The Board of Education case, it was argued that "Separate but Equal" is a contradiction in terms. It was established that segregation is in itself discrimination, and that regardless of that fact, the facilities offered to African Americans were grossly inadequate and by no means equitable. The US Supreme Court established that separate was not equal, and ordered the country's school boards to begin desegregation of their schools as quickly as possible. Though certain areas saw "as quickly as possible" as a means to put off desegregating their schools, for the most part the Brown ruling was a huge achievement in civil rights, and marked a paramount step for the United States toward not only accepting but embracing the differences of all American citizens, and promoting equal opportunity for everyone.

This year not only marks the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, but the 30th annual event held in honor of this occasion. Every year, the Tri-City Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society celebrates this milestone in U.S. history. The Society's founder, Jean Ficklin began the organization to emphasize the importance of the African American community's history in building this nation.

This year's event will include ethnic singing and dancing, including a performance by an all-boys choir and gospel groups, speeches and poetry. There will also be food vendors, an arts and crafts area, and keynote speaker Elese Battiste, Vice Principal at Washington High School. Her appearance will be at about 2 P.M. and she will be speaking of the national theme of the anniversary established by the NAACP.

Admission is free and open to the public. Funds earned from this fundraising event will be given as scholarships. Since its inception, the society has given 3-4 scholarships a year. The event will be held on February 14 from 1:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. at the Newark Community Center, so don't miss out on this fun and educational event! Check our It's a Date section for more information.

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