Brown v. Board of Education
King speaks on “A Realistic Look at Race Relations” at an NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria celebrating the second anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
The Supreme Court issues an order to implement the May 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling.
At Atlanta’s Wheat Street Baptist Church, King addresses student protesters at an event commemorating the sixth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
As a social gospel minister, Kelly Miller Smith believed in using his pastorate to promote activism. Smith participated in the founding meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, and co-founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Council (NCLC) a year later. In a 1961 telegram Smith described Martin Luther King as the “embodiment of the message you bear” (Smith, 19 December 1961).
As an attorney fighting to secure equality and justice through the courts, Thurgood Marshall helped build the legal foundation for Martin Luther King’s challenges to segregation. On 6 February 1958, King wrote Marshall to express his gratitude for Marshall’s efforts in the Montgomery bus boycott: “We will remain eternally grateful to you and your staff for the great work you have done for not only the Negro in particular but American Democracy in general” (Papers 4:360).
At a press conference before the opening of the annual NAACP convention in San Francisco, King proposes a student boycott of segregated schools to force compliance with the Brown decision.
Ninety-six U.S. congressmen from eleven southern states issue a “Southern Manifesto,” which declares the Brown decision an abuse of judicial power and pledges to use all lawful means to resist its implementation.
Alabama state legislators introduce strict new racial segregation bills, including one that strengthens segregation on buses and at public events. The Alabama lower house also unanimously approves a resolution urging the Supreme Court to modify its school desegregation decision.
In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the U.S. Supreme Court declares racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
In Sarah Mae Flemming v. South Carolina Electric and Gas Company, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the recent Brown v. Board of Education decision applies to segregation on municipal buses.