Many people are familiar with the name “Brown vs. Board of Education” but are unaware of which amendment it is. The answer may surprise you.
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The Fourteenth Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was proposed on June 13, 1866, by the Thirty-ninth Congress and was ratified on July 9, 1868. The amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and was originally proposed in response to the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, which ruled that African Americans were not protected by the Constitution and could not be citizens of the United States.
The Fourteenth Amendment and Brown vs Board of Education
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was proposed on June 13, 1866, by the Thirty-ninth Congress and ratified on July 9, 1868. One of the Reconstruction Amendments, it establishes citizenship and equal protection under the law and was designed to protect former slaves following the American Civil War. It was first applied in the civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954.
The amendment includes several sections: the Citizenship Clause, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, Privileges or Immunities Clause, and Bill of Attainder and Ex Post Facto Clauses. In addition to these clauses, there are a number of broader interpretations of the amendment. For example, the incorporation doctrine holds that most of the protections in the Bill of Rights apply to state and local governments as well as to the federal government.
The Brown v. Board of Education decision resulted in desegregation of public schools across America. Although not every school was integrated immediately, within a few years most schools were racially mixed
The Thirteenth Amendment
The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865. The amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The amendment was the first of the Reconstruction Amendments to be ratified following the American Civil War.
The Thirteenth Amendment and Brown vs Board of Education
The Thirteenth Amendment is best known for abolishing slavery, but it also lays the groundwork for one of the most important civil rights cases in American history: Brown vs Board of Education.
The Thirteenth Amendment was passed by Congress in 1865 and ratified by the states in 1868. It reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
In 1954, the Supreme Court case of Brown vs Board of Education overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine that had been established by the 1896 case of Plessy vs Ferguson. This doctrine allowed for racial segregation as long as the facilities separate were equal.
Brown vs Board of Education found that this doctrine was unconstitutional and led to the desegregation of schools across America. It is widely considered to be one of the most important civil rights cases in American history.
The Fifteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments.
The Fifteenth Amendment and Brown vs Board of Education
The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This amendment was interpreted by the Supreme Court in 1896 to mean that separate but equal facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional. This interpretation was overturned in the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” facilities were not actually equal and violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.