Separate Is Not Equal - Brown v. Board of Education

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center



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Segregated America
The Battleground
Legal Campaign
Five Communities Change a Nation
  • Clarendon County, SC
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Farmville, Virginia
  • New Castle County, DE
  • Washington, DC
The Decision
Legacy

Delaware: Conflict in a Border State


Bulah v. Gebhart and Belton v. Gebhart

In the Delaware cases, the NAACP attorneys presented two main arguments: segregated schools harmed black children and violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws. Chancellor Collins Seitz ruled that African American pupils were receiving an inferior education and must be admitted to white schools. But he declined to strike down the principle of separate but equal. That responsibility, he said, belonged to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Delaware Supreme Court upheld his decision.

Chancellor Collins Seitz of Delaware

Chancellor Collins Seitz of Delaware

The Court of Chancery is a high court in the state of Delaware, with powers over civil rights. The chief justice is known as the chancellor.
(Courtesy of the Seitz Family)

Brief submitted to the Supreme Court

Brief submitted to the Supreme Court

Both sides were dissatisfied with the state court’s decision and appealed the case. In December 1952, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and combined it with the other four.
(Courtesy of Supreme Court of the United States)

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