In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously upheld the legality of racial segregation and “Jim Crow” laws. Under the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court said, public facilities could be lawfully segregated by race as long as both races had “equal” access. Fifty-eight years later, however, in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Court reversed itself, struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” and required public schools to be integrated. The ruling, in which the Court observed that separate schools were by no means equal, was one of the seminal moments in the American civil rights movement.
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