Profile America: Brown v. Board of Education

Tuesday, May 17 — On this date in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of its most historic decisions, changing the social landscape of the nation. The justices ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation of public schools based solely on race was unconstitutional. The ruling effectively did away with the “separate but equal” concept that had legitimized segregation for decades after Reconstruction. The case was argued on behalf of the NAACP by Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African-American Supreme Court justice. In the early 1950s, about 14 percent of adult blacks were high school graduates. That figure is now over 84 percent. Then, barely over 2 percent had college diplomas; now the rate has risen to over 19 percent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

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