Separate Is Not Equal - Brown v. Board of Education

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center

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

Black Students On Strike! Farmville, Virginia

Davis v. Prince Edward County

Dorothy Davis, a ninth grader, was the first plaintiff listed on the complaint filed on behalf of 117 Moton students. The state reaffirmed its commitment to segregation and challenged the NAACP’s arguments about the harmful effects of segregated education.

According to the state’s expert witness, blacks were intellectually inferior to whites; it was therefore in everyone’s best interest to separate the races. The federal district court upheld segregation in Prince Edward County, and the NAACP lawyers immediately appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Davis law team on steps

Davis law team on steps

The principal attorneys pose on the steps of the U.S. Court House in Richmond, (front row, left to right): Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill, and Robert Carter from the NAACP’s New York office. Directly behind Robinson is Kenneth Clark, who helped coordinate the testimony of sociologists and other expert witnesses.
(Courtesy of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

Brief submitted to the Supreme Court

Brief submitted to the Supreme Court

The NAACP lawyers appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court for the October term in 1952. (Courtesy of Supreme Court of the United States)

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