What Happened to the Plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education?

Air Date: 05/19/1957
Source:
NBC News
Creator:
Chet Huntley/Eliot Frankel/Robert McCormick/Herbert Kaplow/John Chancellor
Air/Publish Date:
05/19/1957
Event Date:
05/17/1954
Resource Type:
Newsreel
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
1957
Clip Length:
00:03:33

The Brown vs. Board of Education decision was based on five cases involving five school aged children. Three years after the decision, NBC News visits them to hear their personal stories. The first story is of Ethel Louise Belton.

What Happened to the Plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education?

CHET HUNTLEY, anchor:

Two days ago on the third anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on segregated schools, the high school in Clinton Tennessee graduated its first Negro student. A great deal has been said about those who have violated the decision. Not nearly enough about those who have observed it, too much about the troubles, not enough about the achievements. The Supreme Court struck down the laws which required segregated public schools in 17 states in the District of Columbia, and the laws which permit it in four other states. But the specific decision was made in five cases involving five school aged children. What we propose to show is these five children and the stories of what happened to each of them. The first story is of Ethel Louise Belton from the Wilmington, Delaware area.

ELIOT FRANKEL: What effect did having your name on a Supreme Court case have on you?

Plaintiff ETHEL LOUISE BELTON: Well it made me feel real good in one respect and bad in another because I was the main one who was going through this procedure to get into school. And out of all the kids I had to be the one not to go, and that made me feel real bad because I wanted to go. The reason I didn’t go is because I had moved way out on the other side of Wilmington, in Belvedere. And from Belvedere to Wilmington it was only about four miles I would say to my school. And if I had had the transportation to pay my own way I guess I would have to Claymont High.

FRANKEL: But you finished at an all-Negro school.

BELTON: Yes at Howard High School.

FRANKEL: You never went to an integrated school.

BELTON: No I didn’t.

HEBERT KAPLOW: Were you or any other students given advice, any counsel on how to conduct yourselves?

Plaintiff DOROTHY DAVIS: Yes, the teachers talked with the students, told us we have to study harder because they had to go to school with white children and for them to be able to compete with them they we were going to have to study hard because the white student had better facilities and things to study.

KAPLOW: The Supreme Court decision, has it changed your life any Linda?

Plaintiff LINDA BROWN: No it hasn’t affected it very much, everything seems normal

JOHN CHANCELLOR: Did the white children ever say bad things to you?

BROWN: No everyone seemed to give me compliments on it.

CHANCELLOR: The white and the colored friends as well

BROWN: Yes the white and the colored.

ROBERT MCCORMICK: Would you do it again if the whole thing came up again?

Plaintiff THOMAS SPOTTSWOOD BOLLING: I think I would.

MCCORMICK: Do you realize or maybe I should say did you feel that you did make a contribution to this country by subjecting yourself to this?

BOLLING: I don’t know how to answer that statement because a whole lot of other people had done something even greater than I have.

HUNTLEY: Because we are so much a nation of laws and we make so much history through our judges and our courts, there are many unintelligible names otherwise undistinguished which are recorded besides important and far-reaching happenings.

The Schechter brothers who sold chickens, Dread Scott, a frightened runaway slave. And who after all was Plessy and who was Ferguson? But their names are recorded forever besides the separate but equal doctrine. The doctrine thrown out by the Supreme Court in the cases of Ethel Louise Belton, Thomas Spottswood Bolling, Harry Briggs Junior, Linda Brown and Dorothy Davis. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Good afternoon…

Close NBC Learn

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

Videos on this page are not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on the footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games videos are only available to visitors inside the United States due to licensing restrictions on the Olympics footage used in the videos.

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Blackboard™ please log in to your institution's Blackboard™ web site and click "Browse NBC Learn"

Close NBC Learn

If you have received a new user registration code from your institution, click your product below and use the "Register now" link to sign up for a personal account.

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!