In Dennis et al. v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld a law making it illegal to “knowingly or willfully advocate . . . the necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing any government in the United States by force or violence.”
In the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court struck down Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” policy when it ruled that segregation of public school children based on race was unconstitutional.
In Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court ruled that the governor and legislature of Arkansas were bound by the court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The case affirmed the Supreme Court’s rulings and interpretation of the US Constitution as the “supreme law of the land.”
Ninety-six members of the House and Senate signed the “Southern Manifesto” condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and declaring that the decision would have the effect of “destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through ninety years of patient effort by the good people of both races.”
In Boynton v. Virginia, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s conviction of an African American man who refused to leave a whites-only bus terminal restaurant. The Court ruled that the arrest violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which “forbids any interstate common carrier by motor vehicle to subject any person to unjust discrimination.”
The Montgomery bus boycott began on December 6, 1955, prompted by the arrest five days earlier of Rosa Parks. The boycotters were led by Martin Luther King Jr. They walked and carpooled to protest segregation in public transportation. They faced harassment and violence from white police and residents. In November 1956, the Supreme Court ruled in Gayle et al. v. Browser that segregation of the city’s buses was unconstitutional. African Americans returned to Montgomery’s buses on December 21, 1956.