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On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. Racial segregation meant that in 21 states (and Washington, D.C.), white and African American students had to attend different schools. School segregation was part of a “separate but equal” policy, meaning that the schools were supposed to be separate, but have equal equipment, facilities, and educational support.
 
Oliver Brown did not agree with the “separate but equal” policy. His daughter, Linda, was in the third grade. Linda had to walk eight blocks, and then catch a bus to go to her school in Topeka, Kansas. Another school, for white students, was only seven blocks away from the Browns’ home. Oliver and 12 other parents sued the Topeka school board to allow their children to attend local schools. The case was called Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
 
The Brown case lasted about five years. It went from judges in Topeka all the way to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Whatever the Supreme Court decided in Brown would apply to all states and school districts in the United States, not just Topeka. 
 
The Supreme Court agreed with Oliver and the other parents. Chief Justice Earl Warren said “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
 
The process of allowing all students, black or white, to attend their local school was called integration. It took about two years after Brown for Topeka to integrate its schools. 
abridge
Verb

to shorten or reduce.

Board of Education
Noun

group of elected officials who decide educational policy for school districts.

campaign
Noun

activities designed to achieve a social, political, or military goal.

citizen
Noun

member of a country, state, or town who shares responsibilities for the area and benefits from being a member.

clause
Noun

one part of a contract, treaty, or other agreement.

deny
Verb

to refuse or not allow

deprive
Verb

to withhold or prevent from using.

desegregate
Verb

to end segregation by race.

doctrine
Noun

policy or system of teachings.

enormous
Adjective

very large.

equipment
Noun

tools and materials to perform a task or function.

inferior
Adjective

of lower quality.

inherent
Adjective

intrinsic, or existing as an inseparable part of something.

integration
Noun

process of mixing different substances or groups.

jurisdiction
Noun

geographic region associated with a legal authority.

liberty
Noun

freedom.

oppose
Verb

to be or act against something.

policy
Noun

set of actions or rules.

public
Adjective

available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.

school district
Noun

geographic area whose schools are managed by one administration.

segregation
Noun

separation.

sue
Verb

to bring a lawsuit against a person or organization.

Supreme Court
Noun

highest judicial authority on issues of national or constitutional importance in the U.S.

unanimous
Adjective

being totally united in support or rejection of an idea or vote.

unconstitutional
Adjective

against the laws of the United States Constitution.