Forum to mark 50th anniversary of school integration decision

May 09, 2004

Dear Editor:

The United States is approaching the golden anniversary of a civil rights milestone. Fifty years ago, in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote a unanimous Supreme Court decision that read, "In the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

Even after this landmark decision, desegregation was slow to take hold. In 1964, a decade after the decision, less than two percent of formerly segregated school districts had even started the process of desegregation.


Over time and under the leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), progress toward desegregation and more equality was made not only in education, but also in transportation, public restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains.

In looking back, it is hard to believe our society ever considered segregation fair to anyone, but I am proud to know that our judicial system, made up of lawyers, were the first to take such a giant step forward by deeming segregation unconstitutional in our schools. This is just one instance that demonstrates how important lawyers and courts are to a better way of life in America.

Locally, the Brown v. Board of Education decision will be commemorated at a forum to be held at 7 p.m.Tuesday in the circuit courtroom on the second floor of the Boyle County Courthouse in Danville. Everyone is invited to attend and participate in a discussion led by a group of distinguished citizens including Judge Pierce Lively, Pam Rogers, Bob Rowland, Ken Snowden, Bobby Trumbo, and Helen Frye.

Richard H. Campbell, Jr.

Boyle County attorney

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