Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas: The beginning of an era

Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas: The beginning of an era
Mamie Eisenhower: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Skill: High School/College
Time Required:


Perhaps no single Supreme Court decision of the 20th century had such far-reaching impact as this one.  It changed the fabric of American schooling and forever altered the composition of the public school classroom.  This decision occurred during Ike’s first administration.


The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with the opportunity to examine in depth the issues involved in the momentous Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas.    

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet; access to print reference materials. Brown v. Board of Education timeline link


1.  Before beginning this lesson, ask students what they already know about this Supreme Court case.  Listen for misunderstandings or inaccuracies or misconceptions about the case. 

2.  Explain that everyone in the class will have two duties:  (1) study one side of the argument and (2) develop a response to each point of that side’s argument, something that the team of attorneys might use. 

3.  Divide the students into two groups, one the team of lawyers for the Board of Education and the other Brown’s lawyers. 

4.  The Board’s group will study Brown’s case and respond to it point by point; Brown’s group will study the Board’s case and respond to it point by point. 

5.  Each group will create a poster to present their findings.

Extending the Lesson:

The teacher may wish to conduct a debate utilizing the research the students have done.

Sources & Resources:



This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.