On May 17, 1954, in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, the U.S. Supreme Court ended federally sanctioned racial segregation in the public schools by ruling unanimously that "separate educational facilities were inherently unequal." At the time of this decision, I was in the third grade at a segregated school and was not aware that the educational facilities were unequal because we had very good instructors that taught us to always excel in whatever we did. Although we may have had inferior books and schools, learning was fun because of the way our teachers interacted with us.
The Brown v. Board of Education decision initiated educational and social reform throughout the United States and was a catalyst in launching the modern Civil Rights Movement. Bringing about change in the years since the Brown case continues to be difficult. But the Brown v. Board of Education victory brought this country one step closer to living up to its democratic ideas. I remember my parents saying to me that when they went to school, there was only one high school for Blacks — if you lived closer to a white school you could not go there, you had to bypass that one to get to a black school.
As we celebrate on May 17th let us be thankful that our children are able to attend the schools of their choice and receive quality education.
Barbara L. Marshburn
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