Controversy on the American scene—
Segregation in Public Schools
IN 1896 the Supreme Court held that
segregation in public schools is not a
violation of the Constitution.
In 1954 the Supreme Court — under
the leadership of Chief Justice Earl
Warren — reversed that earlier decision
and held that segregation in public
schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which says that no state shall deny
to any person within its jurisdiction the
equal protection of the law.1
Do you think that this recent
segregation decision was good for
Let's answer that question from
two opposite points of view, taking
first the arguments of some who
The Supreme Court's historic decision in the school segregation
cases was unanimous. It was handed
down in May, 1954. The opinion was
written by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
It held that racial segregation of children in public schools is unconstitutional.
There, in brief, bare outline, is the
story of progressive American democracy's twentieth century victory over the
forces of reaction, bigotry, and prejudice.'
As time goes by; as its real meaning
filters into the thinking of people all
over the world; as its intent is implemented by action throughout our nation
— the Supreme Court's decision in the
school segregation cases will do more
good for America than any other court
decision or official act since Lincoln's
proclamation freeing the slaves.3
While rejoicing over this great stride
in the direction of national decency, we
are prone to give all the credit to Earl
Warren and the eight other Justices on
the Supreme Court.
They are indeed entitled to all the
gratitude the nation can give them. But
primary credit for the decision should
go to the man primarily responsible for
it — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The President, of course, has nothing
to do with the Court's deliberations or
decisions. But the quiet, determined,
dedicated efforts of Eisenhower created
the conditions — the national attitude,
the national atmosphere — which made
that school segregation decision possible
in May, 1954.1
Unmotivated by fear of pressure
groups, with no thought of glory or
political gain, Dwight D. Eisenhower
has put more personal effort into solving America's race problem than any
President since Lincoln. Unlike his
predecessor, who tried publicly but unsuccessfully to force civil rights legislation through a hostile Congress, Eisenhower has worked, often secretly, but
always effectively, lo eliminate discrimination both within and without the
The first effect of his convictions
was felt in the nation's capital. Quietly,
yet with grim determination, the President has brought about complete desegregation in the District of Columbia.
Two days after he took the oath of
office as President, the District Court of
Appeals knocked down two laws prohibiting discrimination in Washington
restaurants. With full presidential backing, the Attorney-General intervened so
vigorously that within four months a
Supreme Court reversal abolished this
This was just the beginning. Jim Crow-
has now been eliminated from Washington's theatres, parks, swimming pools,
and other public facilities. Next will be
the integration of District jails and
merging of white and Negro fire companies. More than a dozen Negroes have
been appointed to important government positions. No longer are naval
shore washrooms and cafeterias segregated.4
ARMED FORCES DESEGREGATED
In the vast majority of veterans'
hospitals, North and South, both staffs
although Warren was a nice guy 1
deserved some kind of reward for 0
porting Ike politically, Warren did'
have the legal training or judicial (
perience to qualify as Chief Ju^
of the Supreme Court.
Actually, the absence of too #"
legal training and judicial expera
enabled Chief Justice Earl Warren
pull the Supreme Court together '&
unanimous decision which wrote a J"
page in the history of human equal"
Where previous Chief Justices!
found themselves tied down by judi
precedents and hedged about by nW
legalisms, this "nice guy" — as 1
Warren's detractors condescendi1!
called him — was able to rise aboM
lifeless letter of the law and intm
our Constitution as a living, dynaii"'
strument of government which can "
pace with the march of civilization
guarantee twentieth century In'f
and equality for all American cijl
in keeping with twentieth century!
cepts of what freedom and c'1lli
Earl Warren was not concerned]
the propaganda or political implied]
of his decision. He rather imps'!
dismissed the arguments that segrefl
schools are all right if children o'|
races are provided equal facilities
did not permit himself to be draWJ
I he issue of whether segregated $c
cost more or less than intej"!
is a pr
NO MUSTY LEGALISMS
He did not bog down in musty
isms about what this or that phr'1?, piov
this or that clause of the Consti'" y9r<
might have meant a hundred year8
and he did not give up in the fa„ ( 0|b.
ancient judicial decisions made' ■? a > dej
ic< !l> gr
and patients are now completely mixed. past an(j gone generation of Airier!"' J group
All U.S. attorneys and all FBI agents are
getting special indoctrination in civil
rights law enforcement. Within a few-
months after his inauguration, Eisenhower ended segregation and discrimination among the millions of Americans in our armed forces.5 No truly
moral American citizen can question the
validity of Ike's FEPC program.
And it was Eisenhower's appointees
—Attorney-General Brownell and Chief
Justice Earl Warren — who were responsible for the Supreme Court decision ordering an end to racial segregation in the nation's public schools."
When Ike first appointed Earl Warren, there was some complaint that,
A great humanitarian, Earl "
concentrated his attention in the '
gation issue on the effect that sejjj we Ci
tion has on America's children "^ ' ''c ed
n but ,
Instead of probing into the u education-
lution, Earl Warren probed i"'i equal '"J
hearts and minds of people
the Constitution was written
The Supreme Court said:
"Today, education is per
important function of state and chifj'"Ke
governments. Compulsory school » is hound'
ance laws and the great expen" health
for education both demonstra' , pi ...
recognition of the importance of ■ "orei
tion to our democratic society. " p,„
FACTS FORUM NEWS. Februati'