ERIC Number: ED224388
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Desegregation of Higher Education: A Look at Political and Legal Issues Prior to "Brown v. Board of Education."
Webb, Melvin W.
The political and legal forces that shaped opinion and government action prior to the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) are examined, along with constitutional interpretations concerning education and desegregation, federal and state statutes related to desegregation, and cases since Roberts v. City of Boston (1849). Focus is on desegregation of public colleges and universities, with the exception of two notable cases. Roberts v. City of Boston was the first notable case addressing the admission of blacks into white schools and dual systems. The Brown case ruled that the doctrine of separate but equal schools for blacks and whites was unconstitutional; although public elementary and secondary schools felt its immediate impact, it soon severely affected higher education. While at first the provisions of the 14th Amendment for equal protection of the law was applied only to political situations, the court slowly recognized social inequality as being as pervasive, and possibly more destructive, than political inequality. In 21 states, statutes had either mandated or allowed segregated higher education, and the federal government had not intervened in a matter that was considered a state's right. Behind the scenes political pressures in the Southern states had made desegregation of higher education a very unpopular issue for Congress. It is recommended that college administrators be attuned to U.S. Supreme Court decisions when developing policies related to admissions, affirmative action, and program duplication. (SW)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Black Students, College Admission, College Desegregation, Constitutional Law, Court Litigation, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Government School Relationship, Higher Education, Legal Responsibility, Political Influences, Public Education, Public Opinion, Public Policy, Racial Segregation, State Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Brown v Board of Education; Supreme Court
Note: This paper was identified by a joint project of the Institute on Desegregation at North Carolina Central University and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education at The George Washington University.