December 9 and 10, 1952, were the beginning days of the school desegregation arguments in the United States Supreme Court. When the decision was handed down on May 17, 1954, it had a profound effect on the lives of millions—caused by the words of the opinion read by a new Chief Justice. The Honorable Earl Warren, who had been confirmed by the United States Senate on March 1, 1954, speaking for a unanimous court, said that "in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." The significance of the words of the opinion is found in the fact that this was a complete reversal of an evil concept of law that had fastened itself on the country in the time of political uncertainties that followed the Civil War. During that period of the Nation's history, Congress passed measures that ultimately put the Negro in a position to make a legal claim for equal treatment by invoking the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. However, the Supreme Court systematically struck down the clear legislative guidelines that the Congress enacted for implementing the promises of these amendments. Subsequently, the Congress also fell into the mire of scorning or evading constitutional safeguards. In contrast, from May 17, 1954, to the present there has developed a meaningful partnership between the Supreme Court and Congress in the field of civil rights, with the Supreme Court setting the direction for the course of that partnership.

Education and Voting Rights

Public Accommodations and the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Other Important Titles of the 1964 Act

Open Housing