Key to these cases is the innovative use of expert testimony to determine the psychological harm inflicted by segregation on African-American schoolchildren. The use of experts such as psychologists and social scientists has made it possible to achieve a number of important objectives. First, it showed the psychological wounds caused by isolation. This made it clear that institutional alignment would not repair the damage suffered by black students. Second, it revealed the very purpose of segregation, the commission of racial subordination. Third, expert testimony refuted widespread beliefs about the intellectual inferiority of African Americans. Experts would force judges to deal with the realities of segregation. They could continue to make false rationalizations, or they could apply the Fourteenth Amendment in a way that makes sense of the Constitution. Lawyers were presented with a moral and ethical dilemma.
If they were intellectually honest, they would not be able to decide, based on the ample evidence presented, that segregated schools are the same or could never be. The differences were too obvious. At the same time, it was difficult for judges to break with long-standing social traditions and precedents. Lawyers would be trapped in a difficult analytical box from which there could be no escape. However, Charles Hamilton Houston acknowledged the spread of racism and felt that they first had to set a number of precedents. He amended the Margold Report by launching the NAACP`s legal campaign with lawsuits for equal institutions in graduate and vocational schools. Brown`s importance in the history of American race relations is assured. But while Brown is credited with a central role in the fight against caste and racism, Brown also provides an important lesson about the limits of the law. Brown played an important role in challenging the caste-exclusionary system that had developed in American society.
But the law found the system of structural inequality to be a more annoying problem. The often deep socioeconomic inequalities between blacks and whites can be attributed to slavery, segregation and long-term patterns of exclusion. These have been sanctioned, often even required by law. However, it is not clear to what extent the law will or can remedy the legacy of past exclusion in the future. What is clear is that the playing field would have been much bumpier and the playing field much less level had it not been for the efforts of the men and women who developed the strategy, argued the case and changed the story in Brown v. Supervisory authority of the school. The trial judge said no, as did Maryland`s highest court on appeal. The careful selection of the right applicant had paid off. This is clear from the wording of the appeal report. Murray, according to the court, was “denied admission solely because of the colour of his skin.” The Court was forced to deal with the constitutional issue. It was clear to the court that it would violate Plessy`s formula to deny blacks the opportunity to state-sponsored legal education if whites received one, but that was not the issue here. The question is whether the State has chosen an appropriate method of maintaining equal treatment.
Soon after, Sweatt, Marshall, 43 other lawyers, and 14 local chapter and NAACP presidents met to develop the next phase of the legal strategy. Marshall had always been cautious. He believed that cases involving segregated public schools were cases that the NAACP could not lose, as they would set devastating precedents. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the risk and, along with the other members of the conference, supported a resolution declaring that all future education cases would directly target segregation, not just inequalities between black and white schools. The goal was, in the words of the conference report, “education on a non-segregated basis. that no other remedy will be acceptable. The first case is from Clarendon County, South Carolina. This district has maintained a system of very unequal separate schools. In the 1949-1950 school year, 6,531 Black students attended 61 schools. The annual expenditures of these schools were $194,575. There were 2,375 white students attending 12 schools.
Annual expenditures for these schools were $673,850. Public spending per student was $43 per capita for black children and $179 per capita for white children. The average white teacher earned two-thirds more than the average black teacher; And unlike the treatment of white children, the school board could not be alarmed to provide a single bus to transport black children. Thurgood Marshall took over the case on behalf of 20 plaintiffs. The court ruled that the state had breached its Fourteenth Amendment obligation to ensure equality in education. The court did not legally condemn the scholarship program. Instead, the court relied on a thorough review of the facts and found that Murray had not been afforded equal opportunity. The Court did not find that another scholarship program would be unconstitutional. But he ordered that Donald Murray be admitted to the University of Maryland School of Law. Murray`s correspondence with University of Maryland officials allowed the NAACP to focus on the issue of segregation. Maryland was willing to offer state-sponsored legal education for Murray, but not in Maryland and not at state university. NAACP attorneys took the case to state court.
The question was simple: Was Maryland`s system of awarding state-sponsored scholarships to out-of-state schools equivalent to education at the state law school? Of course, the trial court found that the new school offered education equivalent to that of the state university. The judge was the same one who had ruled that the vastly inferior Prairie View school was equal. What mattered was not so much the decision of the court of first instance as the minutes drawn up during the trial. This file contained evidence of tangible differences between black and white law schools, differences in physical facilities, financial resources, number of professors, books in the library, etc. The court minutes also contained important evidence showing the qualitative and intangible differences between the two schools. The tangible differences were devastating enough. The temporary installation of the new Austin Law School turned out to be office space; The University of Texas had a permanent facility that housed a law journal and a mock courtroom† The new law school had neither. Most of the books in the library had yet to be delivered to the new law school, and there was no full-time librarian; the University of Texas had more than 65,000 volumes. The purely part-time faculty had no offices at the black school. Its offices were located at the University of Texas.
The White Law School had 16 full-time and three part-time faculty and a student body of 850. The Black University had only five part-time members and a small student body. Graduates of the University of Texas Law School were numerous and wielded a great deal of power and influence throughout the Lone Star State and beyond. The new school had only one former student. In any practical way, Texas State University`s School of Law for Blacks was a ridiculous replacement for those at the University of Texas. It was, as Senior Counsel Thurgood Marshall put it, “an apology to blacks for denying them their constitutional rights to attend the University of Texas,” and it should be added, not particularly good. So Topeka had a limited option to close schools, and the city took it. The elementary schools were separated, as the junior high school had completed the practice in 1941. High schools were integrated, but they had separate teams in basketball, swimming, wrestling, golf, and tennis, as well as separate cheerleaders, separate cheerleaders, and a separate gathering where black students were asked to stay in their seats.
Although the facilities for black elementary school children were older, they were the approximate equivalent of the facilities of their white counterparts. None of these cases were heard by exactly the same team of lawyers. The facts were slightly different in each case, but the cases were all part of a coordinated strategy directed from the NAACP headquarters in New York. They all had a common goal: the elimination of the doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson of the “separate but equal”. Vocational schools were also a tempting target for another reason – they carried less emotional baggage. In the atmosphere of the 1930s, and for a long time thereafter, any effort that seemed directed towards the integration of primary or secondary education would set off an emotional and political storm. A large number of white children attended public schools.
Racist demagogues were certain that black and white children attending elementary and secondary schools together would lead to the dreaded scourge of miscegenation. Political opposition would be intense, perhaps deadly. The court found the state`s method inadequate, not in theory, but in fact. There was no separate law school for blacks, and there was no authority to found one. The state legislature passed legislation in response to Murray`s trial. But the law provided only $10,000 for scholarships: a measly $200 for up to 50 black students seeking vocational training outside the state. At the time of the process, just 17 days after scholarships were available, 380 African-American students had applied for applications, 113 had returned them, and there were an additional 12 days during which complete applications were accepted.