Brown v. Board of Education

Da'Shawn Mosley 08-30-2016

Thurgood Marshall / Wikimedia Commons

On Aug. 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed by the United States Senate as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Throughout his tenure as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and even prior to his nomination to the court by President Johnson, Marshall left his mark on various cases that have proved pivotal to pushing America closer toward being a fair and just society for all.

Here are five Supreme Court cases in which Marshall fought for justice—often while he was on the other side of the bench—and won.

Anna Paulina Murray. Image via Carolina Digital Library and Archives / Yale / RNS

A new residential college at Yale University has been named for an Episcopal saint who was the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest.

Anna Pauline Murray, known as “Pauli,” was also civil rights activist who helped shape the legal argument for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. She was the co-founder of the National Organization for Women and received an advanced law degree from Yale in 1965 and an honorary doctorate from Yale Divinity School in 1979.

Tom Ehrich 05-20-2014

This 1961 archival photo shows “Integration in schools” (location unknown). Religion News Service file photo by Bruce Bailey.

Not long ago, I visited Topeka, Kan., to teach at one of those grand old mainline churches that got caught in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education.

It was around the corner from the modest home of a railroad worker named Oliver Brown who decided his daughter Linda shouldn’t have to attend an elementary school far from home just because the neighborhood school was for whites only.

The Supreme Court agreed and, in 1954, struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that had allowed segregation in public schools. That decision set in motion the mass exodus of whites from urban neighborhoods.

So-called “white flight” suburbs sprang up just outside the borders of newly integrated school districts. New schools went up to attract white families, as did housing developments promising a better way of life, code for “whites-only.”

Subscribe