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Five cases from the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia were consolidated and heard together by the United States Supreme Court. These cases claimed that requiring African American children to attend separate schools from white children was a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The cases reached the Supreme Court because the lower courts had ruled that separate schools for the races were allowed under the separate but equal precedent established in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson.

The decision in the Brown case overturned the precedent in Plessy and established the new precedent that separation by race is inherently unequal, and therefore, a violation of the guarantees of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Virginia case which was consolidated as a part of Brown is Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia. The lead counsel for the plaintiffs in this case were Richmond attorneys, Spotswood Robinson, who later became the first African American to be appointed a judge of a Federal Court, and Oliver White Hill, who became one of the true lions of the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Hill passed away in 2007 at the age of 100.