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"14th Amendment—Equal Protection, Due Process, Citizenship"

The Fourteenth Amendment originally was intended to protect the legal rights of freed slaves and their descendents. Today it protects the rights of citizenship in general by prohibiting a state from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. In addition, it states that all citizens have the right to equal protection of the law in all states. In this activity students will learn about a major Fourteenth Amendment Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Students will also explore the Civil Rights Movement. After the Brown decision, many African American and whites worked together to end segregation.

Lesson Description
Students will visit a Web site dedicated to the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. They will read about the circumstances of the case, how the Fourteenth Amendment played a role in the decision, and the results of the decision. Then they will answer questions pertaining to these topics. Following that students will gather and present evidence that the United States has or has not made progress in its efforts to apply Jefferson's words that "all men are created equal."

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe the importance of the Brown v. Board of Education case.
  2. Students will be able to explain the role of the Fourteenth Amendment in ending segregation in public school.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. Does racial segregation of children in public school deprive minority children of equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment?
  2. Linda had to travel across Topeka, Kansas, to attend grade school, while her white friends were able to attend classes at a public school just a couple of blocks away. The Topeka school system was segregated on the basis of race, under the separate but equal doctrine. Linda's parents sued on the basis that separate facilities for African Americans were inherently unequal.
  3. The basis of the decision rests on the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This applies the standard of equality to the action of the states as well as the federal government. The Court decided that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal.
  4. No; after the decision the African American community, along with some white Americans, placed pressure on the legal and political system to bring an end to state-supported segregation in all public facilities throughout twenty years of the civil rights movement.
  5. Students' presentations will vary.

Go To Student Web Activity

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