The Last Juror Historical Context

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Desegregation

In the 1954 decision Brown v. the Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court struck down the idea of "separate but equal" that had been the country's guideline for racial equality since the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson. The Brown decision meant that black children must be granted access to the same schools and facilities as their white peers. However, many places in the deeply segregated South did not intend to desegregate without a fight. In some cases, the National Guard was sent in to protect black students as they entered formerly "white only" schools.

Many states fought desegregation through the courts. Mississippi avoided desegregation for a decade in this way. Not until the successful court cases of a number of black families in Mississippi, supported by the NAACP, did schools slowly start to integrate. Schools usually adopted a "freedom of choice" rule, whereby black students could voluntarily...

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