On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court made history and secured its place as a protector of civil rights in America. On that day, the Court issued its ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case. This marked the day that the issue of “separate but equal” was determined to be “inherently unequal” and inconsistent with the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Brown case was one of the defining moments marking the start of the civil rights movement. It was greeted by African Americans and civil rights organizations with glee and triumph. However, other groups, particularly in the southern United States where school segregation was legal, were angered by the decision—and determined not to implement the Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous. But the country was divided. People were made famous. Thurgood Marshall, who had been working with the NAACP and fighting for civil rights for many years, became a household name throughout the country. His life story is interesting and inspirational. Yet many Americans remain unfamiliar with this American hero.
Here are five great DVDs about Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court’s position in the civil rights movement.
And remember May 17th as the day that destroyed segregation!