ACLU History: The Beginning of the End of 'Separate but Equal'
The NAACP's Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black Supreme Court Justice, was the lead lawyer overseeing a series of cases leading up to the Brown decision. The ACLU consulted with Marshall on his strategies and filed amicus briefs in the major Supreme Court cases, including Brown. Despite the Supreme Court's order to states to implement desegregation 'with all deliberate speed,' the lack of a specific timetable aided many segregationists in delaying and even preventing integration. Physical and verbal assaults and harassment greeted school children who tried to attend all-white schools under district court desegregation orders. A group of Southern senators and congressmen presented a 'Southern Manifesto,' asserting their intention to use every legal tactic to resist desegregation. The case was won, but the battles continued as widespread anti-integration violence rocked the nation.