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
The Decision
  • Defenders of Segregation
  • Segregationists’ Argument
  • Challengers of Segregation
  • Integrationists’ Argument
  • Reaching a Decision
  • Court’s Decision
  • Timeline
People lining up at the Supreme Court

Timeline: A Trial for the Court

When the Supreme Court agreed in 1952 to hear the case, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP at last had arrived at their destination. But the legal struggle, in what many people considered to be the most important case of the 20th century, was anything but quick. The justices recognized the enormous implications of their decision and approached the case cautiously. The battle to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson and to bring down legal segregation took years to unfold.

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