Brown v. Board

The Landmark Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court
Edited by:

The transcripts, never before available to the general reading public, of “the most important American governmental act of any kind since the Emancipation Proclamation” (Louis Pollack, Yale University)

“We are convinced that the answer is that any segregation, which is for the purpose of setting up either class or caste legislation, is in and of itself a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.” —Thurgood Marshall, arguing before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board

Brown v. Board of Education sparked a revolution in race relations that transformed America’s social and political landscape. Argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1952 and 1953, the case was a historic encounter between the forces of racial segregation and the burgeoning civil rights movement. The resulting decision, which outlawed segregation in public schools, set the stage for decades of legal and political disputes that have yet to be resolved.

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the decision, The New Press is publishing the transcripts of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Brown case. Never before available to a general reading audience, the Brown transcripts are among the most revealing documents of contemporary history, with a cast of characters—Thurgood Marshall, Hugo Black, and Felix Frankfurter—that includes some of the towering legal and political figures of the past century.

With introductory essays by Leon Friedman and Waldo E. Martin.