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This Day in Georgia History

May 31, 1955

Second Brown v. BOE Decision Issued

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its second decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. The first decision in 1954 had declared that the “separate but equal” doctrine for public education violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment but was silent on how quickly a remedy must take effect. The second Brown decision answered that question by saying that integration of Topeka, Kansas’ public schools must take place “with all deliberate speed.” As much as the first Brown decision upset white political leaders in the South, it was the second decision that precipitated the most angry reaction. Signs and billboards proclaiming “Impeach Earl Warren” were erected in many states. Political leaders in several southern states talked of invoking the states’ rights theory of interposition to nullify the Brown decisions. In January 1956, Georgia governor Marvin Griffin would introduce a “massive resistance” package of legislation to resist integration. Griffin also introduced an interposition resolution in the Georgia General Assembly, which both houses adopted - making Georgia the only southern state to actually follow through on the threat (though nothing would actually result from the attempt at interposition).