And Justice For All Essay

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And Justice For All

"Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education."

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

It is the fall of 1950. Harry S. Truman is the President of the United States of

America. The "I Love Lucy Show," starring Lucille Ball, enters its first television

season. As the world revolves around them, two young girls are winding down from

summer vacation and preparing for the arrival of school. Tina and Lynn have lived in the

same neighborhood all of their lives. They both love to roller-skate down the street,

shrieking with laughter. They like to collect shiny marbles and trade secrets while they

play jacks. Tina and Lynn are the best of friends, oblivious to the
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During the Civil War, the basis was created in cities around the country for a

public school system that would benefit both blacks and whites. A school for slave

refugees was founded during the war in Washington, D.C. W.E.B. DuBois, the famed

Black historian, wrote, "There is no doubt that the thirst of the Black man for knowledge-

A thirst which has been too persistent and durable to be mere curiosity or whim -- gave

birth to the public free school system of the South" (Ratvich 13). In the post slavery

period, no goal, other than survival, was more important to the former slaves than that of

receiving an education.

The most critical court case affecting blacks at the end of the 19th century was

Plessy vs. Ferguson. In 1890, the state of Louisiana passed a law "requiring railway

companies carrying passengers in their coaches, to provide equal, but separate

accommodations for the white and colored races" (Ratvich 16). Plessy, who was 1/8

black, refused to sit in the back section of a railroad car and was convicted of violating

the law. He appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which issued its ruling in 1896. In

an 8-1 decision, the court ruled that "legal segregation, as expressed in the doctrine of

'separate but equal,' could be legally practiced" (18).

This decision, which was reached by the majority of justices, was partially based


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