Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in the United States between 1854 and 1861 which emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas. The conflict was characterized by years of electoral fraud, raids and retributive murders carried out in Kansas and neighboring Missouri by pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" and anti-slavery "Free-Staters". At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether the Kansas Territory would allow or outlaw slavery, thus enter the Union as a slave state or a free state; the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 called for popular sovereignty, requiring that the decision about slavery be made by the territory's settlers and decided by a popular vote. Existing sectional tensions surrounding slavery found focus in Kansas, with the pro-slavery element arguing that every settler had the right to bring his own property, including slaves, into the territory. Missouri, a slave state since 1821, was populated by a large number of settlers with Southern sympathies and pro-slavery attitudes, many of whom tried to influence the decision in Kansas.
The conflict was fought politically as well as between civilians, where it degenerated into brutal gang violence and paramilitary guerrilla warfare. The term "Bleeding Kansas" was popularized by Horace Greeley's New York Tribune. Bleeding Kansas was demonstrative of the gravity of the era's most pressing social issues, from the matter of slavery to the class conflicts emerging on the American frontier, its severity made national headlines which suggested to the American people that the sectional disputes were unlikely to reach compromise without bloodshed, it therefore directly presaged the American Civil War. Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state in January 1861, but partisan violence continued along the Kansas–Missouri border for most of the war; the episode is designated historic sites. As abolitionism became popular in the United States and tensions between its supporters and detractors grew, the U. S. Congress maintained a tenuous balance of political power between Northern and Southern representatives.
At the same time, the increasing emigration of Americans to the country's western frontier and the desire to build a transcontinental railroad that would connect the eastern states with California urged incorporation of the western territories into the Union. The inevitable question which arose asked how these territories would treat the issue of slavery when promoted to statehood; this question had plagued Congress during political debates following the Mexican–American War. The Compromise of 1850 had at least temporarily solved the problem by permitting residents of the Utah and New Mexico Territories to decide their own laws with respect to slavery by popular vote. In May 1854, the Kansas–Nebraska Act created from unorganized Indian lands the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska for settlement by U. S. citizens. The Act was proposed by Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois as a way to appease Southern representatives in Congress, who had resisted earlier proposals to organize the Nebraska Territory because they knew it must be admitted to the Union according to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had explicitly forbidden the practice of slavery in all U.
S. territory north of 36°30' latitude and west of the Mississippi River, except in the state of Missouri. Southerners feared this would upset the balance between slave and free states and thereby give abolitionist Northerners an advantage in Congress. Douglas' proposal attempted to allay these fears with the organization of two territories instead of one, as well as the inclusion of a clause that would, like the condition prescribed for Utah and New Mexico, permit settlers of Kansas and Nebraska to vote on the legality of slavery in their own territories – a notion which directly contradicted and repealed the Missouri Compromise. Like many others in Congress, Douglas assumed that settlers of Nebraska would vote to prohibit slavery and that settlers of Kansas, further south and closer to the slave state of Missouri, would vote to allow it, thereby the balance of slave and free states would not change. Regarding Nebraska this assumption was correct. In Kansas, the assumption of legal slavery underestimated abolitionist resistance to the repeal of the long-standing Missouri Compromise.
Southerners saw the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act as an emboldening victory. Each side of the slavery question saw a chance to assert itself in Kansas, it became the nation's prevailing ideological battleground. Immigrants supporting both sides of the slavery question arrived in the Kansas Territory to establish residency and gain the right to vote. Among the first settlers of Kansas were citizens of slave states Missouri, many of whom supported Southern ideologies and emigrated to secure the expansion of slavery. Pro-slavery immigrants settled towns including Atchison; the administration of President Franklin Pierce appointed territorial officials in Kansas aligned with its own pro-slavery views and, heeding rumors that the frontier was being overwhelmed by Northerners, thousands of non-resident slavery proponents soon entered Kansas with the goal o
Capital punishment known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, they include offences such as murder, mass murder, treason, offenses against the State, such as attempting to overthrow government, drug trafficking, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but may include a wide range of offences depending on a country. Etymologically, the term capital in this context alluded to execution by beheading. Fifty-six countries retain capital punishment, 106 countries have abolished it de jure for all crimes, eight have abolished it for ordinary crimes, 28 are abolitionist in practice. Capital punishment is a matter of active controversy in several countries and states, positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region.
In the European Union, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment. The Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, has sought to abolish the use of the death penalty by its members through Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, this only affects those member states which have signed and ratified it, they do not include Armenia and Azerbaijan; the United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition. Although most nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population live in countries where the death penalty is retained, such as China, the United States, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, among all Islamic countries, as is maintained in Japan, South Korea and Sri Lanka. China is believed to execute more people than all other countries combined.
Execution of criminals and dissidents has been used by nearly all societies since the beginning of civilizations on Earth. Until the nineteenth century, without developed prison systems, there was no workable alternative to insure deterrence and incapacitation of criminals. In pre-modern times the executions themselves involved torture with cruel and painful methods, such as the breaking wheel, sawing, hanging and quartering, brazen bull, burning at the stake, slow slicing, boiling alive, schwedentrunk, blood eagle, scaphism; the use of formal execution extends to the beginning of recorded history. Most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system. Communal punishment for wrongdoing included compensation by the wrongdoer, corporal punishment, shunning and execution. Compensation and shunning were enough as a form of justice; the response to crimes committed by neighbouring tribes, clans or communities included a formal apology, blood feuds, tribal warfare.
A blood feud or vendetta occurs when arbitration between families or tribes fails or an arbitration system is non-existent. This form of justice was common before the emergence of an arbitration system based on state or organized religion, it may result from land disputes or a code of honour. "Acts of retaliation underscore the ability of the social collective to defend itself and demonstrate to enemies that injury to property, rights, or the person will not go unpunished." However, in practice, it is difficult to distinguish between a war of vendetta and one of conquest. In most countries that practise capital punishment, it is now reserved for murder, war crimes, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and bestiality carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as Hudud and Qisas crimes, such as apostasy, moharebeh, Fasad, Mofsed-e-filarz and witchcraft. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking is a capital offence.
In China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption and financial crimes are punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offences such as cowardice, desertion and mutiny. Elaborations of tribal arbitration of feuds included peace settlements done in a religious context and compensation system. Compensation was based on the principle of substitution which might include material compensation, exchange of brides or grooms, or payment of the blood debt. Settlement rules could allow for animal blood to replace human blood, or transfers of property or blood money or in some case an offer of a person for execution; the person offered for execution did not have to be an original perpetrator of the crime because the social system was based on tribes and clans, not individuals. Blood feuds could be regulated at meetings, such as the Norsemen things. Systems deriving from blood feuds may survive alongside more advanced legal systems or be given recognition by courts.
One of the more modern refinements of the blood feud is the duel. In certain parts of the world, n
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities; the history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, technological developments have increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage.
Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, antibiotic resistance, growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are used, although some are banned in certain countries; the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Food classes include cereals, fruits, meat, milk and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased over the centuries; the word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "field", which in its turn came from Greek αγρός, cultūra, "cultivation" or "growing". While agriculture refers to human activities, certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle cultivate crops. Agriculture is defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops, their related services".
Thus defined, it includes arable farming, animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in practice excluded. The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and gathering. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11 separate centres of origin. Wild grains were eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Rice was domesticated in China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation from 5,700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago. Pig production emerged in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.
In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago. Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Wild stands, harvested started to be planted, came to be domesticated. In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000 BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC. Farmers grew wheat, vegetables such as lentils and onions, fruits including dates and figs.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture relied on its seasonal flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and papyrus. In India, wheat and jujube were domesticated by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats. Cattle and goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000–6,000 BC. Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium BC. Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from 2,500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilisation. In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system and widespread silk farming. Water-powered grain mills were in use followed by irrigation. By the late 2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron mouldboards; these spread westwards across Eurasia. Asian rice was domesticated 8,200–13,500 years ago – depending on the molecular clock estimate, used – on the Pearl River in southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon
Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union; the largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia; the state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber and recreation; the Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border. Humans have inhabited the land now known as Missouri for at least 12,000 years; the Mississippian culture built mounds, before declining in the 14th century. When European explorers arrived in the 17th century they encountered the Osage and Missouria nations; the French established Louisiana, a part of New France, founded Ste. Genevieve in 1735 and St. Louis in 1764. After a brief period of Spanish rule, the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Americans from the Upland South, including enslaved African Americans, rushed into the new Missouri Territory.
Missouri was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise. Many from Virginia and Tennessee settled in the Boonslick area of Mid-Missouri. Soon after, heavy German immigration formed the Missouri Rhineland. Missouri played a central role in the westward expansion of the United States, as memorialized by the Gateway Arch; the Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, California Trail all began in Missouri. As a border state, Missouri's role in the American Civil War was complex and there were many conflicts within. After the war, both Greater St. Louis and the Kansas City metropolitan area became centers of industrialization and business. Today, the state is divided into the independent city of St. Louis. Missouri's culture blends elements from Southern United States; the musical styles of ragtime, Kansas City jazz, St. Louis Blues developed in Missouri; the well-known Kansas City-style barbecue, lesser-known St. Louis-style barbecue, can be found across the state and beyond. Missouri is a major center of beer brewing.
Missouri wine is produced in Ozarks. Missouri's alcohol laws are among the most permissive in the United States. Outside of the state's major cities, popular tourist destinations include the Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Branson. Well-known Missourians include U. S. President Harry S. Truman, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry, Nelly; some of the largest companies based in the state include Cerner, Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Edward Jones, H&R Block, Wells Fargo Advisors, O'Reilly Auto Parts. Missouri has been called the "Mother of the West" and the "Cave State"; the state is named for the Missouri River, named after the indigenous Missouri Indians, a Siouan-language tribe. It is said that they were called the ouemessourita, meaning "those who have dugout canoes", by the Miami-Illinois language speakers; this appears to be folk etymology—the Illinois spoke an Algonquian language and the closest approximation that can be made in that of their close neighbors, the Ojibwe, is "You Ought to Go Downriver & Visit Those People."
This would be an odd occurrence, as the French who first explored and attempted to settle the Mississippi River got their translations during that time accurate giving things French names that were exact translations of the native tongue. Assuming Missouri were deriving from the Siouan language, it would translate as "It connects to the side of it," in reference to the river itself; this is not likely either, as this would be coming out as "Maya Sunni" Most though, the name Missouri comes from Chiwere, a Siouan language spoken by people who resided in the modern day states of Wisconsin, South Dakota, Missouri & Nebraska. The name "Missouri" has several different pronunciations among its present-day natives, the two most common being and. Further pronunciations exist in Missouri or elsewhere in the United States, involving the realization of the first syllable as either or. Any combination of these phonetic realizations may be observed coming from speakers of American English; the linguistic history was treated definitively by Donald M. Lance, who acknowledged that the question is sociologically complex, but that no pronunciation could be declared "correct", nor could any be defined as native or outsider, rural or urban, southern or northern, educated or otherwise.
Politicians employ multiple pronunciations during a single speech, to appeal to a greater number of listeners. Informal respellings of the state's name, such as "Missour-ee" or "Missour-uh", are used informally to phonetically distinguish pronunciations. There is no official state nickname. However, Missouri's unofficial nickname is the "Show Me State"; this phrase has several origins. One is popularly ascribed to a speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver in 1899, who declared that "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and Democrats, frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, you have got to show me." This is in keeping with the saying "I'm from Missouri" which means "I'm skeptical of the matter and not convinced." However, according to researchers, the phrase "show me" was in use
Maize known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences called ears that yield kernels or seeds, which are fruits. Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with the total production of maize surpassing that of wheat or rice. However, little of this maize is consumed directly by humans: most is used for corn ethanol, animal feed and other maize products, such as corn starch and corn syrup; the six major types of maize are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, flour corn, sweet corn. Maize is the most grown grain crop throughout the Americas, with 361 million metric tons grown in the United States in 2014. 40% of the crop—130 million tons—is used for corn ethanol. Genetically modified maize made up 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed, various corn-based human food uses, as chemical feedstocks.
Maize is used in making ethanol and other biofuels. Most historians believe. Recent research in the early 21st century has modified this view somewhat. An influential 2002 study by Matsuoka et al. has demonstrated that, rather than the multiple independent domestications model, all maize arose from a single domestication in southern Mexico about 9,000 years ago. The study demonstrated that the oldest surviving maize types are those of the Mexican highlands. Maize spread from this region over the Americas along two major paths; this is consistent with a model based on the archaeological record suggesting that maize diversified in the highlands of Mexico before spreading to the lowlands. Archaeologist Dolores Piperno has said: A large corpus of data indicates that it was dispersed into lower Central America by 7600 BP and had moved into the inter-Andean valleys of Colombia between 7000 and 6000 BP. Since even earlier dates have been published. According to a genetic study by Embrapa, corn cultivation was introduced in South America from Mexico, in two great waves: the first, more than 6000 years ago, spread through the Andes.
Evidence of cultivation in Peru has been found dating to about 6700 years ago. The second wave, about 2000 years ago, through the lowlands of South America. Before domestication, maize plants grew only small, 25 millimetres long corn cobs, only one per plant. In Spielvogel's view, many centuries of artificial selection by the indigenous people of the Americas resulted in the development of maize plants capable of growing several cobs per plant, which were several centimetres/inches long each; the Olmec and Maya cultivated maize in numerous varieties throughout Mesoamerica. It was believed. Research of the 21st century has established earlier dates; the region developed a trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. Mapuches of south-central Chile cultivated maize along with quinoa and potatoes in Pre-Hispanic times, however potato was the staple food of most Mapuches, "specially in the southern and coastal territories where maize did not reach maturity". Before the expansion of the Inca Empire maize was traded and transported as far south as 40°19' S in Melinquina, Lácar Department.
In that location maize remains were found inside pottery dated to 730 ±80 BP and 920 ±60 BP. This maize was brought across the Andes from Chile; the presence of maize in Guaitecas Archipelago, which constitute southernmost outspost of Pre-Hispanic agriculture, is reported by early Spanish explorers. However the Spanish may have misidentified the plant. After the arrival of Europeans in 1492, Spanish settlers consumed maize and explorers and traders carried it back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Spanish settlers far preferred wheat bread to cassava, or potatoes. Maize flour could not be substituted for wheat for communion bread, since in Christian belief only wheat could undergo transubstantiation and be transformed into the body of Christ; some Spaniards worried that by eating indigenous foods, which they did not consider nutritious, they would weaken and risk turning into Indians. "In the view of Europeans, it was the food they ate more than the environment in which they lived, that gave Amerindians and Spaniards both their distinctive physical characteristics and their characteristic personalities."
Despite these worries, Spaniards did consume maize. Archeological evidence from Florida sites indicate. Maize spread to the rest of the world because of its ability to grow in diverse climates, it was cultivated in Spain just a few decades after Columbus's voyages and spread to Italy, West Africa and elsewhere. The word maize derives from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taíno word for mahiz, it is known by other names around the world. The word "corn" outside North America and New Zealand refers to any cereal crop, its meaning understood to vary geographically to refer to the local staple. In the United Stat
Kansas State Capitol
The Kansas State Capitol, known as the Kansas Statehouse, is the building housing the executive and legislative branches of government for the U. S. state of Kansas. Located in the city of Topeka, which has served as the capital of Kansas since the territory became a state in 1861, the building is the second to serve as the Kansas Capitol; the dome, at 304 ft, is taller than the 288 ft United States Capitol dome, although its diameter is half that of the national capitol. It is one of the few capitols in the United States that continue to offer tours that go to the top of the dome. Visitors enter the dome by climbing 296 steps leading from the fifth floor to the top; the land for Capitol Square was donated by Cyrus K. Holliday via his Topeka Town Company in 1862; the master architect was Edward Townsend Mix with the wings designed by John G. Haskell. Construction on the East Wing began in 1866, using "native" limestone from Kansas. Construction began on the West Wing in 1879 using limestone from Cottonwood Falls, Kansas and in 1881, the legislature authorized and appropriated funds for the construction of a central building to link the two wings.
Construction of this central building began in 1886, the contract for dome construction was let in May, 1889. The building was declared complete in 1903, after 37 years of construction, it was not until 1988 that a design for a sculpture to stand atop the dome was approved. Ad Astra, a 22 2⁄12-foot bronze sculpture weighing 4,420 pounds, was installed atop the dome on October 10, 2002; the sculpture, by Richard Bergen, depicts a Kansa Native American with bow and arrow pointed at the North Star and was chosen from 27 entries to adorn the dome. The title Ad Astra is Latin shortening of the state motto Ad Astra Per Aspera To the stars through difficulty; the building was featured prominently on Kansas license plates issued from January 2001 until April 2007. In December 2001, the Statehouse began a $120 million modernization project, led by Treanor Architects. By the time the project finished in spring 2014, scope creep and delays resulted in a total cost of $332 million, covering "new heating and cooling systems, greater security and restroom accessibility, a new parking garage, visitor center, underground office space and replacing the roof and dome."
In 1898, Jerome Fedeli painted frescos near the top of the dome in the rotunda. Fedeli's work depicted bare-breasted classical women; however officials had them painted-over. In the 1930s, John Steuart Curry painted murals on the second floor including the building's most famous painting—Tragic Prelude—which depicts an oversize and raging John Brown wedged between the warring sides of the American Civil War, flanked by flames and a tornado. Curry's work gained considerable notoriety for depicting unsavory aspects of Kansas history and he left them unsigned and did not complete a commission to paint murals in the rotunda. Curry's depiction of Brown is believed to be the only instance of a person convicted of treason being featured in a state capitol. From 1976 to 1978, Lumen Martin Winter painted the murals in the rotunda. List of state and territorial capitols in the United States Kansas State Capitol from the Kansas Historical Society Photo Gallery of Kansas Statehouse construction wrapping up, from Lawrence Journal-World Copper From Statehouse Dome Becomes Art on YouTube, from Hatteberg's People on KAKE TV news Publications on the Kansas State Capitol from the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U. S. 483, was a landmark decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that American state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Court's unanimous decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. However, the decision's 14 pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, the Court's second decision in Brown II only ordered states to desegregate "with all deliberate speed"; the case originated with a lawsuit filed by the Brown family, a family of black Americans in Topeka, after their local public school district refused to enroll their daughter in the school closest to their home, instead requiring her to ride a bus to a blacks-only school further away.
A number of other black families joined the lawsuit, the Supreme Court combined their case with several other similar lawsuits from other areas of the United States. At trial, the district court ruled in favor of the school board based on the Supreme Court's precedent in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court had ruled that racial segregation was not in itself a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause if the facilities in question were otherwise equal, a doctrine that had come to be known as "separate but equal"; the Browns appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court's decision in Brown overruled Plessy v. Ferguson by declaring that the "separate but equal" notion was unconstitutional for American public schools and educational facilities, it paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the Civil Rights Movement, a model for many future impact litigation cases. In the American South the "Deep South", where racial segregation was entrenched, the reaction to Brown among white people was angry and stubborn.
Many Southern governmental and political leaders embraced a plan known as "Massive Resistance", created by Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, in order to frustrate attempts to force them to de-segregate their school systems. Four years in the case of Cooper v. Aaron, the Court reaffirmed its ruling in Brown, explicitly stated that state officials and legislators had no power to nullify its ruling. For much of the sixty years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the United States had been dominated by racial segregation; this policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment; the plaintiffs in Brown asserted that this system of racial separation, while masquerading as providing separate but equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations and treatment for black Americans.
Racial segregation in education varied from the 17 states that required racial segregation to the 16 in which it was prohibited. Brown was influenced by UNESCO's 1950 Statement, signed by a wide variety of internationally renowned scholars, titled The Race Question; this declaration denounced previous attempts at scientifically justifying racism as well as morally condemning racism. Another work that the Supreme Court cited was Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. Myrdal had been a signatory of the UNESCO declaration; the research performed by the educational psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark influenced the Court's decision; the Clarks' "doll test" studies presented substantial arguments to the Supreme Court about how segregation affected black schoolchildren's mental status. The United States and the Soviet Union were both at the height of the Cold War during this time, U. S. officials, including Supreme Court Justices, were aware of the harm that segregation and racism played on America's international image.
When Justice William O. Douglas traveled to India in 1950, the first question he was asked was, "Why does America tolerate the lynching of Negroes?" Douglas wrote that he had learned from his travels that "the attitude of the United States toward its colored minorities is a powerful factor in our relations with India." Chief Justice Earl Warren, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Eisenhower, echoed Douglas's concerns in a 1954 speech to the American Bar Association, proclaiming that "Our American system like all others is on trial both at home and abroad... the extent to which we maintain the spirit of our constitution with its Bill of Rights, will in the long run do more to make it both secure and the object of adulation than the number of hydrogen bombs we stockpile." In 1951, a class action suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their 20 children.
The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation. The Topeka Board of Education operated separate elementary schools under an 1879 Kansas law, which permitted districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in 12 communities with populations over 15,000; the plaintiffs had been recruited by the leadership of the Topeka NAACP. Notable among the Topeka NAACP leaders were the chairman McKinley Burnett.