Brown v. Board and Neoliberalism of Public Schools ~ History of the Present Timeline

  • 1820-1860: The Common School Movement

    The Common School Movement was started by Horace Mann who became the first secretary of Massachusetts state board of education. The purpose of the common school movement is to provide free education to all students regardless of wealth, heritage, or class. The Common School Movement was heavily endorsed by puritans who wanted to do “the work of God” so they put a religious meaning behind it which is kind of ironic because they were making public schools which obviously aren’t religiously affiliated. Unfortunately, this movement did not properly African American individuals and other people of color. African families and political allies continued to challenge these new schools for representation but no head way was made until Brown v Board.

  • 1865: Ratification of the 13th Amendment

    Long before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln recognized the challenge American slavery posed to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. A constitutional amendment would be the ideal solution to ending slavery, yet the idea of such an amendment conflicted with several of Lincoln’s long-held positions. On December 6th 1865 Congress ratified the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States. Not only did the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery but it also ended any involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. However, a majority of the states in the South and a select few in the north did not choose to accept the 13th Amendment. States such as Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky did not support the new Amendment and were considered no voting States under Lincoln’s Administration. part of Lincoln’s plan for reconstruction was that if States decided to adopt the 13th Amendment then they could be brought back into the union and vote in the United States elections States who did not adopt this new law could not join the union and therefore could not vote in United States presidential elections. It was in the southern states of Mississippi and Kentucky where the first “black codes” and Jim Crow laws were put into effect.

  • 1865: Reconstruction of the South

    After President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all enslaved Africans in the South, he began his plan for the Reconstruction of the South. He made a point of trying to be lenient so that the southern states were motivated to join their Union counterparts. Unfortunately President Lincoln was assassinated before he could put his plan into place. His successor Andrew Johnson was from the south. When it came to Johnson’s plan of reconstruction he decided to become even more lenient because it was the southern states who won him the election therefore he felt that he owed them something. his plan however did not pass through Congress and as a result Congress decided to pass harsher laws for the Southern States.

  • 1877: Reconstruction Ends

  • 1880: Jim Crow Emerges in the South

    Jim Crow laws were a series of state and local statues that legalized racial segregation. Jim Crow laws were meant to marginalize African Americans by denying them the right to vote, hold jobs and get a proper education amongst other opportunities. before the name Jim Crow became popularized these laws and Acts were known as the Black Codes. Black Codes began as early as 1865 immediately following the emancipation of the 13th Amendment. These laws would state how, when and where previously enslaved people could work, how much money they could make, how they could become educated and it explained how and why these newly freed people could not vote. If people try to defy these new codes and laws they would be faced with a rest finds jail sentences violence and even death in some occasions.

    Enforcers of these practices we’re not police officers but local militias presently known as the Ku Klux Klan. the KKK is made up of wealthy white men and sometimes even former slave owners. they would use scare tactics as well as intimidation by threatening violence against the newly-proclaimed citizens. In the beginning of the 1880s Big Cities in the south were not entirely enforcing Jim Crow laws. because of this black citizens decided to move to the cities so that they could have more freedom than they would in the rural south. However because of the increased population of African Americans in these cities some white community members demanded that there be more laws to limit opportunities. These demands grew into being the knowledge that we have of Jim Crow laws. it was more common to see segregated waiting rooms in Boston train stations as well as water fountains, restrooms, building entrances, even public schooling. These growing restrictions for African Americans soon evolve into major zoning restrictions. African Americans could not live in white neighborhoods and segregation was more prevalent than ever.

    In Ohio, politician Allen Granbury Thurman ran for governor with the promise of barring black citizens from voting. While he did lose the race for governor, he was elected into the U.S. Senate where he fought tooth and nail to get rid of any reconstruction reforms that benefited African Americans.

  • 1886: Ida B Wells

    Ida B Wells was an American journalist educator an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. she was born into slavery in Holly Springs Mississippi in 1862 and was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War. At the age of 20 she moved to Memphis, Tennessee where she found a job as a teacher. While employed as an educator she also pursued a career in journalism. Soon, she owned and wrote her own newspaper entitled Memphis free speech and headlight newspaper. the paper reported incidence of racial segregation in the inequality. in the 1890s was documented the lynching in the United States and works to expose them as a barbaric practice of whites in the south. As a result of this a white mob destroyed her newspaper office. However, that didn’t stop her because even after losing her life’s work, she still continued to expose racism across the nation.

  • April 1896- May 1896: Plessy v Ferguson

    The infamous case that is Plessy versus Ferguson stemmed from the Separate Car Act of 1890 which required African Americans and whites to sit in segregated compartments of public transportation throughout Louisiana. This was back when the federal government thought they could measure “how black” somebody was. The plaintiff in question? Homer Plessy, who was said to be described as 7/8th white. Plessy was asked to move to the back of the train car so that white passengers could sit in the front. Plessy refused to give up his seat in defiance of the Separate Car Act of 1890. One of the reasons Homer Plessy brought suit was because of the difficulty enforcing segregation in States like Louisiana Louisiana had a large mixed race population making it very difficult to determine where the line could be drawn in terms of separating two races the doctrine of separate but equal that grew out of Plessy versus Ferguson became the standard for all. Plessy v Ferguson is considered to be an important case because it established the doctrine of separate but equal that allows States for the first time to legally segregate the races. However, it would not be until Brown v Board where the supreme court would side with the plaintiff, Homer Plessy.

  • 1900: Jim Crow in the 20th century

    At the turn of the century, it seemed that segregation was the worst it had ever been. As lynching’s increased amongst the black community, so did race riots. Contrary to what people may think, the north was not immune to the laws of Jim Crow. On the contrary, some northern states required that black people needed to own property before they could vote.

  • 1909: The Founding of the NAACP

    The NAACP was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and my other anti-segregationists to “ensure the the civil rights afforded to African Americans were not being impeded.” (Dupree-Wilson). The NAACP thought that it was absolutely crucial that they dismantle Jim Crow and other forms of institutional racism across the country. One of the top priorities of the NAACP when they first formed was to fix how African Americans were being portrayed in Hollywood. They were fearful that these films would reinforce every negative stereotype that whites had about African Americans.

    Currently, the NAACP works to “ensure that all disadvantaged students of color are on the path to college or a successful career.” They try to implement this by increasing the amount of resources that are in the classroom, ensuring college and career readiness, improving teaching, and improving overall discipline.

  • 1919: Red Summer

    Over the summer of 1919, there had been an increase in lynching’s and race riots across America. This pent up tension developed after WWI and was paired with a crumbling economy. This stretch of violence was called “Red Summer”. During this time period, the city of Chicago had one of the biggest race riots, resulting in 38 deaths along with even more injuries. This biggest race riot occurred in the rural town of Elaine, Arkansas where an estimated 100-240 African American and 5 white men died. This riot is presently known as the Elaine Massacre.

  • August 1929- March 1933: The Great Depression

    The Great depression of the 30’s worsened the situations of many African-American citizens (if that even possible). African Americans were the first ones to get laid off of their jobs and actually ended up suffering from 2-3x the unemployment rate of whites. However after the New Deal was created, many of the African Americans that faced homelessness were now able to live in low income housing and get back in the right track. The National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps enabled African American youths to continue their education and The Works Progress Administration gave jobs out to African Americans who had lost their jobs during the depression.

  • December 1952: Brown v Board is Introduced to the Supreme Court

    Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court case in which justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional

    As mentioned above, in 1856 the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy versus Ferguson that racially segregated facilities were “illegal so long as the facilities for blacks and whites equal.” But by the early 1950s the NAACP was working hard to challenge segregation laws in public schools and had filed a plethora of lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs; one of them being Oliver Brown. Oliver Brown filed a class-action lawsuit against the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas in 1951 after his daughter, Linda Brown was denied entrance to Topeka’s all white elementary schools.

    In his lawsuit Brown claimed that schools for black children were not equal to that of white schools. He also argued that segregation violated the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no state can deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  • May 17, 1954: Desegregation of Public Schools (result of Brown v Board)

    Brown First brought his case to the US District Court in Kansas. The courts did agree that public school segregation had a detrimental effect on the color children and contributed to the ongoing sense of inferiority. However they did not budge on the fact that they thought that the separate but equal doctrine still applied.

    When brought to the Supreme Court first justices were divided on how to rule on school segregation with Chief Justice Fred M Vinson holding the opinion that Plessy versus Ferguson should stand. Unfortunately, before they reached a verdict Vincent sadly passed away. In September of 1953 his replacement was announced to be Earl Warren who was the governor of California at the time.

  • 1954: Start of the Civil Rights Movement

    The Civil Rights Movement what’s a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. by the mid 20th century black Americans had more than enough of prejudice and violence and against them they along with Many white Americans mobilize and began the unprecedented fight for equality that spanned over two decades. The movement itself has its origins in the Reconstruction Era during the late 19th century although the movement did seem to pick up momentum around the 50s and 60s. It is here that legislation started getting passed to provide equality for African Americans. In the 1950s the strategy of public education legislative lobbying and litigation had fueled the fire for the Civil Rights Movement the first half of the 20th century and only seemed to broaden after Brown vs. Board. after Brown vs. Board passed in Congress supporters of the Civil Rights Movement used tactics such of direct action such as boycotts and sit-ins and freedom rides as well as marches and walks to prove their point and emphasize civil disobedience to get their point across.

  • September 4, 1957: Little Rock Nine

    The Supreme Court in 1954 Daisy Bates, a newspaper columnist and NAACP leader found nine young people willing to take a chance on being the first step to integrating Arkansas schools. On September 4th Bates leather the school protesters were out in full force they screamed and spit at the black students in wave signs accusing them of communism, atheism, as well as genocide. Protesters were not the only obstacle that the students had to face; Governor Orval Faubus and the Arkansas National Guard tried to deny the students entry. This made international news. President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with governor Faubus and warned him to follow the constitution. Eisenhower moved the national guard into Little Rock so they these nine students could be escorted to school. On September 25th, 1957 the nine African-American students finally went to class.

  • 1960: SNCC was formed

    The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee when was the first of its kind in the United States. SNCC what is a student-led organization founded by Ella Baker where students could practice the act of Civil Disobedience by challenging society’s norms during segregation in the Civil Rights era in the 1960s. When SNCC first started, add 126 student delegates from 12 States. College students who participated in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee participated in protest such as lunch counter sit-ins and freedom rides, to protests against voter suppression amongst other issues. It soon became the most radical branch and transformed into the “black-power” movement.

  • February 1, 1960: Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit in

    The Greensboro sit-in was a civil rights protests that started in 1960 when young African-American college students changed a sit-in protest at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The students knew that the lunch counter was for whites only but refused to leave after being denied service multiple times. The sit-in movement soon spread to other college campuses in the South and soon many students were participating. Although a majority of participants were arrested on charges of trespassing, disorderly contact, and/or disturbing the peace, their actions made a lasting impression for others who were in the fight for racial equality, as well as a business is worthy citizens took place for example, following these protests Lunch Counter such as World War had no choice but to change their segregation policies in their dining facilities.

  • November 14, 1960: Ruby Bridges

    At the age of six, Ruby Bridges advanced the cause of civil rights for elementary schoolers when she became the first black first grader to integrate elementary schools in the south. On her first of school, Ruby and her mother were escorted by four marshals into the school. Her classmates never interacted with her or even acknowledged her existence. This left Ruby to eat lunch by herself and even play with her teacher at recess, but she never missed a day of school.

  • June 11, 1963: Denied Entry at U of A

    When African American students attempted to desegregate the University of Alabama in June 1963, Alabama’s new governor, George Wallace, was surrounded by state troopers, blocked the door of the enrollment office. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, and the executive branch undertook aggressive tactics to enforce the ruling.

  • October 1966: Black Panther Party

    Black Panther Party, was a political organization founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to challenge police brutality against the African American community. Dressed in black berets and black leather jackets, the Black Panthers organized armed citizen patrols of Oakland and other U.S. cities. At its peak in 1968, the Black Panther Party had roughly 2,000 members.

    The Party instituted the Free Breakfast for Children Programs to address food injustice, and community health clinics for education and treatment of diseases. This why a majority of public schools now provide free breakfast and reduced priced lunches for students who are of lower-socio-economic status.

  • 1968: Green v. County School Board of New Kent County

    An important United States Supreme Court case that involved school desegregation. The Supreme Court dealt with the freedom of choice plans which were plans created by state governments that gave students the choice to attend black or white schools after the ruling of Brown v. Board. The Court held unanimously that New Kent County’s freedom of choice plan did not adequately comply with the school board’s responsibility to determine a system of admission to public schools on a non-racial basis.

    The Supreme Court mandated that the school board must formulate new plans and steps towards realistically converting to a desegregated system. Green v. County School Board of New Kent County was a follow up of Brown v. Board of Education.

    The court case of Green v County School Board of New Kent County resulted in what became to be known as the five Green factors — faculty, staff, transportation, extracurricular activities and facilities — the criteria by which later courts would evaluate school districts’ progress on desegregation.

  • 1970: Nixon Takes a Side

    When Nixon took office,  was expand I can economic my my end discrimination in the workplace.  The Nixon Administration with the help of  his black colleagues and federal funding,  kick-started an initiative called black capitalism.  because Nixon had such a strong belief in the Civil Rights Movement he sought to end the decades-old tradition of segregated schools for white and black children once and for all,  especially in southern states where there was still a vast amount of push back. Administration’s position on racism had the common goal of enforcing the brown decision that integration should happen as fast as it possibly can, but, it had to be up to the biracial communities of the south to put it into place. 

  • 2016: Donald J Trump Gets Elected President

    Throughout his campaign trail President Donald Trump was adamant that the United States education system needed work.  He continuously claimed that the “nation’s elementary and secondary education systems are falling behind the rest of the world.” President Trump made it clear from the beginning that he was a full supporter of the school Choice Movement which she says “better prepares students to compete in a global economy”. The end goal of the school Choice Movement is to hold institutions more accountable for the students that they produce.

  • February 7th, 2017: Betsy DeVos Hired as Secretary of Education

    Secretary DeVos has been involved in education policy for nearly three decades. Prior to becoming secretary of education, DeVos has served as an in-school Mentor for at-risk children in Grand Rapids Michigan public schools. It was while working in this District that DeVos noticed that not all students have or are entitled to the same opportunities as their wealthier classmates. These observations are what made DeVos such a huge advocate for the school choice movement and the neoliberalism of schools.

  • April 2017 : Arizona Passes “School Choice” Policy

    Arizona was one of the first states to put this plan in place. The concept and ideology behind “school of choice” has been backed heavily by many politicians, especially Betsy DeVos; the United States Secretary of Education under the Trump administration. DeVos is a firm believer in neoliberalizing education. Blakely writes “The legislation signed by Governor Doug Ducey allows students who withdraw from the public system to use their share of state funding for private school, homeschooling, or online education.” (Blakely 1). The idea of neoliberalizing something is centered around “free market trade, financial markets, mercantilism and the idea of shifting away from state welfare”. Blakely illustrates how DeVos has spent “millions of dollars” and has “devoted herself” to the idea of school of choice. He goes on to say that “failure to do so, [DeVos] warned, would be the stagnation of an education system run monopolistically by the government”. (Blakely 1).  From the outside, this plan may seem like a great idea, it allows students to choose their own own curriculum and their different activities that they get to participate in. 

  • Present Day: What Segregation Looks Like Now

    Public Schools also assist families outside the educational aspect who might not be able to fully provide for their children. In 2018 14.7 million students participated in the school breakfast program. This is where students who may or may not live in impoverished areas have access two a consistent meal five out of seven days of the week. Along with free breakfast the national school lunch program average daily participation serves school lunches to approximately 29.6 million students each day this includes 20 million free lunches in 1 million reduced-price lunches each student with a reduced price lunch pays $0.40.

    Public Schools also have a unique opportunity to help parents as well as the children attending classes there. Some schools started offering night classes for parents to help them learn English and other important parental skills that can assist them in caring for their children. Many of these same schools encourage teachers to improve school parental ties by visiting students’ homes and instructing parents on how to offer a Better Learning environment for their child at home. These practices can be especially beneficial to families that may have emigrated from other countries and have not yet grown accustomed to the American education system. 

    This movement has the potential to leave those 12.6 million students under the poverty line at a disadvantage. It shows that parents who can’t afford to send their children to these newer, “better” schools, have no other choice than to put their kids education on the backburner, which without a doubt hurts the child, but the child has the possibility to become caught in the cycle of hunger as well because it was at his/her public school (that is now shut down due to lack of funding) that they were getting the necessary, healthy meals that they needed. In short, I find that the neoliberalism concept, which is good in theory, is doing more harm than good when enforced.

Works Cited (in order of the timeline)

Pope, James Gray. “Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Badges and Incidents of Slavery.” UCLA Law Review, vol. 65, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 426–486. EBSCOhost,

Platt, Jon-Michael. “Reconstruction: A Concise History.” Southern Quarterly, vol. 56, no. 4, Summer 2019, pp. 96–100. EBSCOhost,

Hill, Rebecca. “Mapping the History of the Carceral State from Jim Crow to Sun Belt: A Review Essay.” Journal of Southern History, vol. 86, no. 4, Nov. 2020, pp. 893–898. EBSCOhost,

Kruse, Beth, et al. “Remembering Ida, Ida Remembering: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Black Political Culture in Reconstruction-Era Mississippi.” Southern Cultures, no. 3, 2020, p. 20. EBSCOhost,

Bernard R. Boxill. “Washington, Du Bois and ‘Plessy V. Ferguson.’” Law and Philosophy, vol. 16, no. 3, May 1997, pp. 299–330. EBSCOhost, Editors, Editors. “Jim Crow Laws.”, A&E Television Networks, 28 Feb. 2018,

Harrison-Kahan, Lori. “Scholars and Knights: W. E. B. Du Bois, J. E. Spingarn, and the NAACP.” Jewish Social Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, Fall 2011, pp. 63–87. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2979/jewisocistud.18.1.63.

Rinos Mwanaka. “Red Summer 1919.” Africanization and Americanization Anthology, Volume 1 : Africa Vs North America : Searching for Inter-Racial, Interstitial, Inter-Sectional, and Interstates, African Books Collective, 2018. EBSCOhost,

“African American Life during the Great Depression and the New Deal.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.,

Kearl, Michelle Kelsey. “WWMLKD?: Coopting the Rhetorical Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.” Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, vol. 8, no. 3, July 2018, pp. 184–199. EBSCOhost,

Dittmer, John. “Figures of the Civil Rights Movement: Sit-Ins and the Little Rock Nine.” Journal of American History, no. 3, 2001, p. 1211. EBSCOhost,

LOVELACE H. TIMOTHY JR. “Making the World in Atlanta’s Image: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Morris Abram, and the Legislative History of the United Nations Race Convention.” Law and History Review, vol. 32, no. 2, May 2014, pp. 385–429. EBSCOhost,

Brown, Laura Michael. “Remembering Silence: Bennett College Women and the 1960 Greensboro Student Sit-Ins.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 1, 2018, pp. 49–60. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02773945.2016.1273379.

“A Tribute to the Power of a Teacher–The Ruby Bridges Story.” YC: Young Children, vol. 71, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 45–46. EBSCOhost, Editors. “University of Alabama Desegregated.”, A&E Television Networks, 9 Feb. 2010,

Allen, Jody, and Brian Daugherity. “Recovering a ‘Lost’ Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court’s Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision.” Oral History Review, vol. 33, no. 2, Summer/Fall2006 2006, pp. 25–44. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1525/ohr.2006.33.2.25.

Jordan, Jr. ..Vernon E. Vital Speeches of the Day, vol. 39, no. 14, May 1973, p. 418. EBSCOhost,

“Education.” The White House, The United States Government,

“Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education — Biography.” Home, US Department of Education (ED), 27 June 2019,

Blakely, Jason. “How School Choice Turns Education Into a Commodity.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 17 Apr. 2017,

Riser-Kositsky, Maya. “Education Statistics: Facts About American Schools.” Education Week, 16 June 2020,

65354, et al. “The Role of Public Schools in the Advancement of the Communities.” The Edvocate, 20 Apr. 2017,

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