Text: S.Con.Res.102 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in House (05/10/2004)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. Con. Res. 102 Referred in House (RFH)]

  2d Session
S. CON. RES. 102



                              May 10, 2004

               Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

To express the sense of the Congress regarding the 50th anniversary of 
  the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Whereas Oliver L. Brown is the namesake of the landmark United States Supreme 
        Court decision of 1954, Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483, 
Whereas Oliver L. Brown is honored as the lead plaintiff in the Topeka, Kansas 
        case which posed a legal challenge to racial segregation in public 
 Whereas by 1950, African-American parents began to renew their efforts to 
        challenge State laws that only permitted their children to attend 
        certain schools, and as a result, they organized through the National 
        Association for the Advancement of Colored People (the NAACP), an 
        organization founded in 1909 to address the issue of the unequal and 
        discriminatory treatment experienced by African-Americans throughout the 
Whereas Oliver L. Brown became part of the NAACP strategy led first by Charles 
        Houston and later by Thurgood Marshall, to file suit against various 
        school boards on behalf of such parents and their children;
Whereas Oliver L. Brown was a member of a distinguished group of plaintiffs in 
        cases from Kansas (Brown v. Board of Education), Delaware (Gebhart v. 
        Belton), South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliot), and Virginia (Davis v. 
        County School Board of Prince Edward County) that were combined by the 
        United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, and in 
        Washington, D.C. (Bolling v. Sharpe), considered separately by the 
        Supreme Court with respect to the District of Columbia;
Whereas with respect to cases filed in the State of Kansas--

    (1) there were 11 school integration cases dating from 1881 to 1949, 
prior to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954;

    (2) in many instances, the schools for African-American children were 
substandard facilities with out-of-date textbooks and often no basic school 

    (3) in the fall of 1950, members of the Topeka, Kansas chapter of the 
NAACP agreed to again challenge the ``separate but equal'' doctrine 
governing public education;

    (4) on February 28, 1951, the NAACP filed their case as Oliver L. Brown 
et al. v. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas (which represented a 
group of 13 parents and 20 children);

    (5) the district court ruled in favor of the school board and the case 
was appealed to the United States Supreme Court;

    (6) at the Supreme Court level, the case was combined with other NAACP 
cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. (which 
was later heard separately); and

    (7) the combined cases became known as Oliver L. Brown et al. v. The 
Board of Education of Topeka, et al.;

Whereas with respect to the Virginia case of Davis et al. v. Prince Edward 
        County Board of Supervisors--

    (1) one of the few public high schools available to African-Americans 
in the State of Virginia was Robert Moton High School in Prince Edward 

    (2) built in 1943, it was never large enough to accommodate its student 

    (3) the gross inadequacies of these classrooms sparked a student strike 
in 1951;

    (4) the NAACP soon joined their struggles and challenged the inferior 
quality of their school facilities in court; and

    (5) although the United States District Court ordered that the 
plaintiffs be provided with equal school facilities, they were denied 
access to the schools for white students in their area;

Whereas with respect to the South Carolina case of Briggs v. R.W. Elliott--

    (1) in Clarendon County, South Carolina, the State NAACP first 
attempted, unsuccessfully and with a single plaintiff, to take legal action 
in 1947 against the inferior conditions that African-American students 
experienced under South Carolina's racially segregated school system;

    (2) by 1951, community activists convinced African-American parents to 
join the NAACP efforts to file a class action suit in United States 
District Court;

    (3) the court found that the schools designated for African-Americans 
were grossly inadequate in terms of buildings, transportation, and teacher 
salaries when compared to the schools provided for white students; and

    (4) an order to equalize the facilities was virtually ignored by school 
officials, and the schools were never made equal;

Whereas with respect to the Delaware cases of Belton v. Gebhart and Bulah v. 

    (1) first petitioned in 1951, these cases challenged the inferior 
conditions of 2 African-American schools;

    (2) in the suburb of Claymont, Delaware, African-American children were 
prohibited from attending the area's local high school, and in the rural 
community of Hockessin, Delaware, African-American students were forced to 
attend a dilapidated 1-room schoolhouse, and were not provided 
transportation to the school, while white children in the area were 
provided transportation and a better school facility;

    (3) both plaintiffs were represented by local NAACP attorneys; and

    (4) though the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, 
the decision did not apply to all schools in Delaware;

Whereas with respect to the District of Columbia case of Bolling, et al. v. C. 
        Melvin Sharpe, et al.--

    (1) 11 African-American junior high school students were taken on a 
field trip to Washington, D.C.'s new John Philip Sousa School for white 
students only;

    (2) the African-American students were denied admittance to the school 
and ordered to return to their inadequate school; and

    (3) in 1951, a suit was filed on behalf of the students, and after 
review with the Brown case in 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled 
that segregation in the Nation's capital was unconstitutional;

Whereas on May 17, 1954, at 12:52 p.m., the United States Supreme Court ruled 
        that the discriminatory nature of racial segregation ``violates the 14th 
        Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal 
        protection of the laws'';
Whereas the decision in Brown v. Board of Education set the stage for 
        dismantling racial segregation throughout the country;
Whereas the quiet courage of Oliver L. Brown and his fellow plaintiffs asserted 
        the right of African-American people to have equal access to social, 
        political, and communal structures;
Whereas our country is indebted to the work of the NAACP Legal Defense and 
        Educational Fund, Inc., Howard University Law School, the NAACP, and the 
        individual plaintiffs in the cases considered by the Supreme Court;
Whereas Reverend Oliver L. Brown died in 1961, and because the landmark United 
        States Supreme Court decision bears his name, he is remembered as an 
        icon for justice, freedom, and equal rights; and
Whereas the national importance of the Brown v. Board of Education decision had 
        a profound impact on American culture, affecting families, communities, 
        and governments by outlawing racial segregation in public education, 
        resulting in the abolition of legal discrimination on any basis: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
            (1) the Congress recognizes and honors the 50th anniversary 
        of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of 
            (2) the Congress encourages all people of the United States 
        to recognize the importance of the Supreme Court decision in 
        Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; and
            (3) by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. 
        Board of Education of Topeka, the Nation will be able to 
        refresh and renew the importance of equality in society.

            Passed the Senate May 6, 2004.


                                             EMILY J. REYNOLDS,


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