The United States of America has always stood as the land of opportunity, the land of equality; however, the African American journey toward cultural equality has been a complex and laborious one that still continues today. The passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments in the second half of the 19th century did not instantly bring about equal rights and liberties. Instead, the country remained solidly divided upon racial lines which favored white people, and were only solidified with Supreme Court decisions, and the individual states' endorsement of the Jim Crow laws. However, not all African Americans believed the answer to equality was in desegregation.
William Edward Burghardt DuBois, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.
P.), believed that the current "separate but equal" policies could be used for the advancement of the community as a whole, and integrating the schools would only have a negative impact on black children's educations. He asserted that the best way for blacks to hope to achieve equality with other Americans would be through concentrated pursuit of the equal portion of the clause.
In the 1950's DuBois' own N.A.A.C.
P. took on the Plessy decision articulating that African Americans would no longer compromise. The initial onset of the enforcement of the decision brought the great hardships to black students that DuBois had been so fearful of. Fifty years have passed since the desegregation of America's schools began, yet racial divisions still exist; it is important to consider perhaps DuBois was correct. Before Brown v. Board and even Plessy v.
Ferguson, an improved system of education was on the rise for African Americans. In Alabama, in 1867, constitutional laws agreed to provide equal opportunity for both blacks and whites, and also did not require segregated schools (Tozer, 157). The rise in black participation in voting and voic…