Even though there was an elementary school close to my house, my sister and I had to go to an all-Black school much farther away. In their elementary years, the girls had attended local public schools, but after graduating, their parents found that the building that housed their junior high and high school – Blackshear – was uninhabitable. Find  out more in the Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. Reverend Brown had attempted to enroll his young daughter in the all-white Sumner Elementary School. Brown vs. Board of Education. Board of Education legal team. One of twelve children and the daughter of immigrants, Constance Baker Motley rose to become the first Black woman to ever argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court as well as the first Black woman to serve in the New York State Senate and the first woman to be Manhattan borough president. I made up my mind to establish a record of court victories that showed that separate institutions are NOT equal. Along with her mother, she was the first to sign onto the lawsuit that would eventually become Brown v. Board. We had to get up really early and walk, then take a bus, to the Monroe School in Topeka, Kansas. There must be some magic to it. Those same kids in Virginia and South Carolina—and I have seen them do it—they play in the streets together, they play on their farms together, they go down the road together, but they separate to go to school, they come out of school and play ball together. It was one of the five cases included in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which later outlawed segregation in public schools. My wife Dr. Mamie Clark and I were psychologists who worked together on what were known as the "doll experiments." In 1979, Brown Thompson sued the Topeka schools, on behalf of her own children, for not following through with desegregation as mandated by the original Brown case. You can imagine how disappointed I was because for many years courts used my case as an example of supporting segregation. As LDF commemorates the 65th anniversary of this transformative victory, we celebrate the women whose invaluable contributions made that triumph possible. Although the lawsuit was unsuccessful, it was the first case Marshall used to create the foundation for the success in Brown v.Board. 1954 Brown v. Board of Education: Brown v. Board of Education: The Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in public schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection, and the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process. This site is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary. Constance Baker Motley After working with LDF founder Thurgood Marshall, Motley became LDF’s first female attorney and wrote the original complaint in Brown v.Board. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. 4) Charles Hamilton Houston: My name is Charles Hamilton Houston. 5) Oliver Hill: My name is Oliver Hill and I was a lawyer. The LDF chose Martin Luther King Day to announce the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, named for the Supreme Court justice and for Constance Baker Motley, who was an LDF attorney just a few years out of Columbia University Law School when she wrote the initial complaint that led to the court’s Brown v. Motley wrote the legal brief for the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case, which struck down racial segregation in American public schools. Reading the Constitution was supposed to teach me not to pull pranks. When, in May of 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case, the real struggle for school desegregation was just beginning. You can have them voting together, you can have them live in the same neighborhoods. At the ages of 13, Doris Faye and her twin sister, Doris Raye, were plaintiffs in a lawsuit to desegregate schools in Hearne, a small town sandwiched between Houston and Dallas, Texas. We weren't allowed to go to the Sumner School that was closer to us because it was for white children only. I decided to challenge my arrest in court. Few cases better exemplify this tradition than Brown v. Board of Education. A Bankruptcy Judge? They were used by Thurgood Marshall to show that racial segregation sets the stage for African Americans to lose out on equal opportunities. We use the support from individuals, businesses, and foundations to help ensure a sustained investment in children and youth and to foster programs that educate the public about Brown v.Board of Education in the context of the civil rights movement and to advance civic engagement.. Make a Donation Online here. So Motley, a youth activist who spoke at community events, made her own good fortune.A philanthropist heard one of her speeches and was s She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund before entering law school as a staff attorney and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years. constance baker motley brown v board of education September 19, 2020 September 19, 2020 in 1946. The Supreme Court then declined to review the decision. Children in other states had the same problem as we did, so when we took our case to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court combined our cases. The Court said that the states could legally segregate the races, as long as each race was treated "equally." Columbia Magazine Profile. 6) Constance Baker Motley: My name is Constance Baker Motley. The first time I saw the Constitution was when I was forced to read it as a punishment for a prank at school. 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Board of Education Re-enactment, History - Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment, Justice Thurgood Marshall Profile - Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment, Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. Here is a section of the Court's decision, in the words of some eighth graders. Throughout the history of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (LDF), women have been the lifeblood animating our efforts to achieve racial justice. Constance Baker Motley ’46 with Thurgood Marshall. Some people called me a lion for civil rights. 10) Thurgood Marshall Closing Argument Reader: I got the feeling when I heard the discussion in this court yesterday that when you put a white child in a school with a whole lot of colored children, the white child would fall apart, or something. As a 16-year-old student, Barbara Johns led an all-Black student body in a walkout to protest the conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia. In September 1947, Doris Faye and Doris Raye, accompanied by their parents, attempted to enroll at a white junior high school in Hearne. The purpose of this site is to provide information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government. I saw how segregation between African Americans and whites led to unequal conditions. Constance Baker Motley: First Black woman to argue before the Supreme Court ... Motley wrote the legal brief for the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education … The harrowing trek required Katherine to brave the elements, walking through fields and down unpaved roads to catch the bus to school. This argument was taken up by several of my law students, including Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill. Jennings, worked with the Hearne NAACP to file a lawsuit that fall to desegregate the schools, listing both Doris Faye and Doris Raye as plaintiffs. University of Virginia School of Law community members recognize trailblazing African American legal heroes. 6) Constance Baker Motley: My name is Constance Baker Motley. In 1966 – about the time some of your parents were born – I became the first African American woman to become a federal judge. Federal Judge Richard Rogers ruled in favor of the school district, but an appeals court reversed his ruling. Judge Constance Baker Motley was born in New Haven and attended New Haven's public schools. by Andy Piascik. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943 from New York University and ... the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.' Constance Baker Motley Papers at Smith College. They described them as better than the black dolls. The fund aims to cover the education and training of at least 50 new civil rights lawyers. Constance Baker Motley graduated from her Connecticut high school with honors, but her parents, immigrants from the Caribbean, couldn’t afford to pay for college. After garnering support from the local branch and other outraged black parents, the lawsuit was realized in just a few short months. Instead, it inspired me to become a lawyer and fight against discrimination. Later, in the case of Meredith v She claimed her greatest professional achievement was the reinstatement of 1,100 Black children in Birmingham who had been expelled for taking part in street demonstrations in the spring of 1963. After graduation, I worked for the NAACP and successfully argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Education is a right that must be made available to all on equal terms. In 1951, LDF represented Reverend Oliver L. Brown, on behalf of his third-grade daughter Linda, in a lawsuit against the Topeka Board of Education. The student strike in 1951 – one of the earliest youth-led protests of the civil rights movement – led Johns and some of her fellow students to request LDF representation in order to sue for a new building. She went to law school and found herself fighting racism in landmark segregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education (search). You can have them going to the same state university and the same college, but if they go to elementary and high school together, the world will fall apart. I worked with Thurgood Marshall on Brown v. Board of Education. Then, in the spring of 1948, Thurgood Marshall agreed to argue the case. From our brilliant attorneys and intrepid organizers to our innovative policy experts and courageous clients, LDF’s work has always relied on the ingenuity and persistence of extraordinary women. 1) Student Greeter: You may wonder what difference landmark Supreme Court decisions make in our lives – today. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today.”. DIY History: Marian Anderson - … ... Brown v. Board of Education Plessy v. Ferguson Question Title * 3. Most African American children chose the white dolls. Everybody knows that is not true. From her position with the NAACP LDF, Motley participated in most of the important Civil Rights cases from 1945 to 1965. ... where she helped write briefs filed in Brown v. Board of Education … I went to court and won equal pay for black teachers and equal transportation rights for black students. They ruled that laws segregating students by race were unconstitutional. The history of Brown v. Board of Education is represented in our national consciousness by a single building, Monroe School, which is a National Historic Site located in Topeka, Kansas. 11) Chief Justice Earl Warren: My name is Earl Warren. This wise and affecting memoir is the inside story of the great efforts leading up to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v.Board of Education in 1954 and the fight to implement it--and its implications for affirmative action and black poverty today.. A black woman who moved in the corridors of power in the middle of this century, Constance Baker Motley has been a pioneer in … Brown v. Board of Education was actually five school cases under one name, which showed that separate schools were not equal. Jack Greenberg '48. In our experiments, we had African American children look at a set of white dolls and black dolls. They had to tell us which dolls they liked and wanted to play with. Reverend Brown promised Linda that he would challenge the school’s decision. Administrative Oversight and Accountability, Chronological History of Authorized Judgeships - Courts of Appeals, Chronological History of Authorized Judgeships - District Courts. 3) Homer Plessy: My name is Homer Plessy. After hearing the case, all nine of us decided that segregation was not legal. Constance Baker Motley Lawyer, judge, Manhattan Borough President; part of the Brown v. Board of Education legal team. She argued 12 landmark civil rights cases in front of the Supreme C… She was the only woman on the NAACP legal team for Brown. Jack Greenberg ’48 and Hon. I was a professor and civil rights lawyer. When the school refused to enroll Linda, she was instructed to attend the under-resourced all-Black Monroe School, two miles away from her home. But they have to be separated in school. They brought this action in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas to enjoin enforcement of a Kansas statute which permits, but does not require, cities of more than 15,000 population to maintain separate school facilities for Negro and … Access: This collection is located off-site. When I was a girl, I wasn't allowed to go to a public skating rink or to the beach because of my race. Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005), was a key strategists of the African-American civil rights movement, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City. The segregated school system in which Katherine was enrolled required her to travel over 8 hours to and from school each day. The Justices said that separate is not equal. She has something to say to us that matters even today. Our work started with my master's degree paper. 9) Thurgood Marshall: My name is Thurgood Marshall. Learn about Civil Rights hero Rosa Parks and four other women, also forced off city buses, and how their courage led to a federal court decision to strike down segregation on buses. The Court ruled against me in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Columbians Who Played a Role in Brown v. Board of Education; Alumni helped shape the landmark Supreme Court ruling. © Copyright 2021 NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. My case made it all of the way to this court. 1. I also won a case that showed the run-down and unequal conditions of schools attended by black students. In addition, Motley played an important role in representing Black students seeking admission to the Universities of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi as well as Clemson College in South Carolina. Motley also directed the legal campaign that resulted in the admission of James H. Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962. Even though some schools in my community were open to everybody, a Kansas law allowed the Board of Education of Topeka to establish segregated elementary schools like the all-white Sumner School in my neighborhood and the all-black Monroe School that I had to attend. It was one of the five cases included in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which later outlawed segregation in public schools. The twins’ father, C.G. 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