Logo: Civil Discourse, An American Legacy Toolkit
A photo from the March on Washington, D.C. during the American Civil Rights Movement.

Civil Rights

Since its founding, the Constitution has been used, challenged, and made more perfect. All of this has been done to secure civil rights for groups whose rights have not always been protected. Explore the history of civil rights in America from its founding to today. How did Reconstruction amendments, civil rights legislation, and court cases like Brown v. the Board of Education shape the evolution of American civil rights? What issues still remain today? Prepare to engage in discourse on our country’s history with civil rights and what that means today and in the future.


Timeframe: 3-4 days / 50-minute sessions
Was Brown v. Board of Education successful?
Participants will learn about the constitutional underpinnings of civil rights and how they relate to racial segregation today to engage in a civil discourse model to expand their perspectives on the issue.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1954 that declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. A group of African-American parents brought the case forward on behalf of their children, who were denied admission to white schools due to their race. The Court found that segregation in education violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal treatment under the law to all citizens.
The decision overturned the "separate but equal" doctrine established in the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896, which allowed for racial segregation in public facilities as long as they were deemed equal in quality. Brown v. Board of Education marked a significant turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and paved the way for the desegregation of other public institutions, including public transportation, housing, and employment.
Implementing the Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with resistance from some white communities, leading to a long and tumultuous process of school desegregation across the United States. Nonetheless, the decision set a precedent for eliminating institutionalized segregation and discrimination, and it remains a powerful symbol of the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

Additional Resources:

Students demonstrate their understanding of civil rights by making real-world connections between the context surrounding the Supreme Court’s decision on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and that of the present-day United States and the role of civil rights today.

CCE LogoThis site is brought to you by the Center for Civic Education. The Center's mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965. Learn more.

Center for Civic Education

5115 Douglas Fir Road, Suite J
Calabasas, CA 91302

  Phone: (818) 591-9321

  Email: web@civiced.org

  Media Inquiries: cce@civiced.org

  Website: www.civiced.org

© Center for Civic Education