BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION (I)
Black children were denied admission to public schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to the races. The white and black schools approached equality in terms of buildings, curricula, qualifications, and teacher salaries. This case was decided together with Briggs v. Elliott, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, and Gebhart v. Belton. (A separate but related case -- Bolling v. Sharpe -- presented the same issue in the context of the District of Columbia, which is not subject to the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment because the District is not a state.)
Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?
Legal provision: Equal Protection
Yes. Despite the equalization of the schools by "objective" factors, intangible issues foster and maintain inequality. Racial segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on minority children because it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority. The long-held doctrine that separate facilities were permissible provided they were equal was rejected. Separate but equal is inherently unequal in the context of public education. The unanimous opinion sounded the death-knell for all forms of state-maintained racial separation.