Eighth-grade students at North Bethesda Middle School in Bethesda write about how they think the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 changed U.S. schools and society.

Blacks Now Hold Important Jobs

Brown v. Board [of Education] was a landmark case in American history. In the words of our secretary of education: "Brown was an American action. It was an action that impacted the United States of America and all of us. It was good for our nation. It was not just good for the ethnic African American community, but for every community, even Anglos who attended schools that had shut out that part of the world."

Obviously, the Brown v. Board of Education decision has integrated schools and provided blacks with the same education as whites, but it has also done other things. Before, all the important jobs were held by white citizens. However, now one would see that blacks hold many important jobs, a result of the better education that they were offered after the case. There are black CEOs, and some members of the Cabinet, including the secretary of state, are black. Also, Brown v. Board of Education showed the country that every citizen was entitled to equal rights and benefits.

Today segregation is not evident in society. This is a result of blacks realizing they deserved equality, which came from the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Who knows? Without the Brown case, segregation might still exist in our nation today.

Nicholas Sutherland

U.S. Saved From Becoming Two Nations

The outcome of the Brown v. Board of Education court case in 1954 was definitely one of the most important changes impacting American schools and society. It has taught students to all feel equal to each other, regardless of race, and not consider race a factor when choosing friends. It has taught Americans to get along with each other and not consider themselves above someone else because their skin is lighter.

In the late 1800s the decision made for Plessy v. Ferguson established separate but equal, a law stating that blacks and whites would stay away from each other but still receive equal treatment. However, the government took advantage of the fact that the blacks didn't know how the whites were treated.

For example, the black schools were worse and the black bathrooms were never as clean. Brown v. Board of Education started the long struggle from segregation to integration in schools. This meant that blacks and whites would soon learn to live together peacefully and happily. They could no longer get unequal treatment. Without this case, the United States would be like two separate countries living in one: a nation divided in half.

Hannah Peterson

Learning to Appreciate Many Heritages

When I think of the impact that Brown v. BOE had on my life, the first thing that comes to mind is all of my ethnic friends who wouldn't be able to attend school with me if it weren't for that historic court decision. I find it hard to believe that just 50 years ago we would have been at different schools, regardless of where we lived, our grades, our personal accomplishments or any other factors. I think that this is a good way to try to remember this event because it puts a human face on it, rather than just a paragraph in a history book.

However, I think that Brown v. BOE had a much bigger effect on America and the world on a much broader scale. Brown v. BOE helped us learn to coexist with and befriend people of different heritages. By going to school with children of different ethnicities, it helped us to judge people by their character, and not their skin color, and helped a whole generation break down the walls of stereotypes and prejudices.

Though racism still exists, Brown v. BOE has helped us prove that any racial bias or prejudice is based on ignorance, not education. Though we can't change our shameful past full of segregation and discrimination, we can learn from our mistakes. We can control our future. Brown v. BOE has an immeasurable impact on our present-day society and opened a whole new chapter in American history.

Danny Fersh

Living Under the Constitution Truthfully

Brown v. Board of Education: the reason we have friends of all races and ethnicities, the reason we're all equal, the reason our country is integrated. This court trial dating to 1954 is one of the main reasons America is how it is today.

Our country's black population has gone through countless hardships throughout the years. From slavery to segregation. America has put them through a lot. We're nowhere near perfection, but we've come a long way because of some outspoken people trying to make a difference, like Linda Brown, who was denied an acceptable education just because of her skin color.

Brown v. Board of Education has successfully changed American society for the better. Now, people are rarely discriminated against for ethnic differences and when they are, there are consequences. Brown v. Board of Education has taught America a much-needed lesson. Thanks to Brown v. Board of Education, we can finally live under the words of our founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, we can finally and truthfully live under the Constitution, and we can truthfully say and believe that all men are created equal.

Anna Lofin