50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION
(Senate - May 06, 2004)

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[Pages S5023-S5025]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Judiciary 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Con. Res. 102 
and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the concurrent resolution by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 102) to express the 
     sense of the Congress regarding the 50th anniversary of the 
     Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of 
     Topeka.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the 
concurrent resolution.
  Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, it gives me great pleasure to speak on 
behalf of the passage of S. Con. Res. 102, which honours the 50th 
anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown et al. v. 
Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas et al.
  As you may know, the history of desegregating our public school 
system started before Brown with such cases as Murray v. Maryland and 
Sweatt v. Painter. But it was Brown v. Board of Education that caught 
fire and changed the course of Americas history and the way in which we 
view equality in the eyes of the law.
  Before Brown, many States held and enforced racially segregated laws 
enforced, which was an atrocious practice. Many individuals cited the 
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, which sanctioned the separate but equal 
doctrine, as the grounds for keeping school segregation legal.
  Oliver Brown, a citizen of Topeka, KS, along with other individuals, 
filed a lawsuit against the Topeka School Board on behalf of his 7-
year-old daughter, Linda. Like other young African Americans, Linda had 
to cross a set of railroad tracks and board a bus to take her to the 
``colored'' school on the other side of the city from where she lived--
even though a school for white children was located only a few blocks 
from her home.
  There were many notable African Americans who helped to bring this 
case to the United States Supreme Court; however, none so famous as 
Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who valiantly defended the 
rights of not only Linda Brown and the other defendants in the case, 
but of an entire race of individuals who were treated as second class 
citizens.
  On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court rendered its decision to rule 
racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. Further, the Supreme 
Court found the ``separate but equal'' doctrine to be in violation of 
the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution, which states, 
among other things, that, ``no State shall make or enforce any law 
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the 
United States.''
  When the Court ruled, in 1954, that school segregation laws were 
unconstitutional, the Supreme Court demolished the legal foundation on 
which racial segregation stood. The Court's opinion, written and 
delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren, also served as a stirring moral 
indictment of racial segregation, and an eloquent challenge to America 
to cast off its prejudices and extend its promises of life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness to all citizens, regardless of race or 
color.
  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals 
who worked tirelessly to ensure that the 50th anniversary celebration 
of this case is recognized world wide. Most notably, I would like to 
thank Cheryl Brown Henderson, the Brown Foundation and the Brown v. 
Board of Education National Historic Site for their steadfast and 
unwavering commitment to the legacy established by the Brown decision. 
I would also like to thank and commend the work of the Brown v. Board 
of Education 50th Anniversary Commission. Finally I would like to 
recognize all of the cases that comprise the Brown decision.


             Belton v. Gebhart (Bulah v. Gibhart)--Delaware

  First petitioned in 1951, the local cases, Belton v. Gebhart and 
Bulah v. Gibhart, challenged the inferior conditions of two African 
American schools. In the suburb of Claymont, DE, African American 
children were prohibited from attending the area's local high school. 
In the rural community of Hockessin, Delaware, African American 
students were forced to attend a dilapidated one-room schoolhouse and 
were not provided transportation to the school, while white children in 
the area were provided transportation and a better school facility. 
Both cases were represented by a local NAACP attorney. Though the State 
Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the decision did not 
apply to all schools in Delaware.


   bolling, et. al. v. c. melvin sharpe, et.al.--district of columbia

  Eleven African American Junior high School students were taken on a 
field trip to Washington, D.C.'s new John Phillip Sousa School for 
whites only. The African American students were denied admittance to 
the school and ordered to return to their inadequate school. in 1951, a 
suite was filed on behalf of the students. After review with

[[Page S5024]]

the Brown case in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation 
in the Nation's capital was unconstitutional.


                         briggs v. r.w. elliott

  In Claredon County, SC, the State NAACP first attempted, 
unsuccessfully and with a single plaintiff, to take legal action in 
1974 against the inferior conditions African American students 
experienced under South Carolina's racially segregated school system. 
By 1951, community activists convinced the African American parents to 
join the NAACP efforts to file a class action suite in U.S. District 
Court. The court found that the schools designated for African 
Americans were grossly inadequate in terms of buildings, transportation 
and teacher's salaries when compared to the schools provided for 
whites. An order to equalize the facilities was virtually ignored by 
school officials and the schools were never made equal.


                             brown v. board

  In Kansas there were 11 school integration cases dating from 1881 to 
1949, prior to Brown in 1854. In many instances the schools for African 
American children were substandard facilities with out-of-date 
textbooks and often no basic school supplies. 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. On February 28, 1951, the NAACP filed their case as Oliver 
L. Brown et al. vs. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, which 
represented a group of 13 parents and 20 children. The District Court 
ruled in favor of the school board and the case was appealed to the 
U.S. Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court level, their case was combined 
with other NAACP cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and 
Washington, D.C., which was later heard separately. The combined cases 
became known as Oliver L. Brown et. Al. vs. The Board of Education of 
Topeka, et al.


      davis, et. al. v. prince edward county board of supervisors

  One of the few public high schools available to African Americans in 
the State of Virginia was Robert Moton High School in Prince Edward 
County. Built in 1943, it was never large enough to accommodate its 
student population. The gross inadequacies of these classrooms sparked 
a student strike in 1951. The NAACP soon joined their struggles and 
challenged the inferior quality of their school facilities in court. 
Although the U.S. District Court ordered that the plaintiffs be 
provided with equal school facilities, they were denied access to the 
white schools in their area.
  I am encouraged and hopeful that the Nation will join with me and 
celebrate this magnificent achievement in American History.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the concurrent 
resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to 
reconsider be laid upon the table, and that any statements relating to 
the resolution be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 102) was agreed to.
  The preamble was agreed to.
  The concurrent resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

                            S. Con. Res. 102

       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, 1954);
       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 education;
        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 country;
       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 supplies;
       (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 County;
       (2) built in 1943, it was never large enough to accommodate 
     its student population;
       (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. Gebhart--
       (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;

[[Page S5025]]

       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), That--
       (1) the Congress recognizes and honors the 50th anniversary 
     of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education 
     of Topeka;
       (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.

                          ____________________