Nevada Appeal at 150: May 17, 1954: Supreme Court rules segregation unconstitutional

Supreme Court rules segregation unconstitutional

Washington, May 18 — IP — The Supreme Court ruled today in an historic decision that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

Speaking for a unanimous court, Chief Justice Earl Warren said education must be available to all on an equal basis.

And this cannot be done under the old rule of permitting “separate but equal” public school facilities for Negroes and whites.

The momentous decision came in a 12-page opinion which will rank in sociological significance with Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation which freed the slaves.

The tribunal, however, did not rush into immediate enforcement of its decision. Acknowledging the tremendous ramifications of its ruling, the court delayed formulation of specific degrees until it hears further arguments next fall.

The court said it will consider at that time whether Negro children should be admitted forthwith to schools of their choice, or whether the court has authority to “permit an effectual gradual adjustment.”

Today’s basic ruling by the bench was taken in cases brought originally in four states — South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and Kansas. The court covered these cases in one ruling. It issued a separate opinion outlawing segregation in the District of Columbia.

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.


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