Cases of Segregation

Events

Plessy refuses to exit the "whites-only" car

June 7, 1892

After refusing to move, he was arrested.

Plessy v. Ferguson argued

April 13, 1896

Plessy v. Ferguson case is argued before the Supreme Court. Is Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation on its trains unconstitutional? Argued to be an unconstitutional infringement on both the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Plessy v. Ferguson decided

May 18, 1896

7-1 decision that segregation is constitutional. Only dissenter was Justice Harlan. Justice Brewer was unable to participate.

Sweatt sues the University of Texas Law School

May 16, 1946

Sweatt applied to the university, but was denied admission due to his race.

Sweatt v. Painter is argued

April 4, 1950

Sweatt v. Painter case is brought to the Supreme Court. Was the Texas admissions scheme wrong to deny Sweatt admission because of his race? Thurgood Marshall argued that it was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Sweatt v. Painter is decided

June 5, 1950

Supreme Court finds that it was unconstitutional to deny Sweatt admission because of his race. This was a unanimous decision.

Brown v. Board of Education class action suit

1951

A class action suit is filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas.

Brown v. Board of Education argued

December 9, 1952 - December 11, 1952

Brown v. Board of Education argued before the Supreme Court. Is the segregation of public education, based solely on race, unconstitutional? Argued to as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Brown v. Board of Education reargued

December 7, 1953 - December 9, 1953

Case is reargued before the court because a decision was not made before the end of the term (June 1953).

Brown v. Board of Education decided

May 17, 1954

Unanimous decision that racial segregation of public education is unconstitutional.