Interview with Herbert Brownell, Jr.
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE EFFECT OF THAT UNANIMITY WAS?

Herbert Brownell, Jr.:

I think it had an effect on public, uh, reaction to the opinion. You have to remember that the, it was a major uh, change from the status quo, Supreme Court had decided in Plessy against Ferguson in the late, in the preceding century uh, that it uh, made it very clear that uh, they did not consider segregation in the public schools wasp was uh, unconstitutional. In fact they cited cases of segregated schools around the country and indicated that there was no power in the federal government to change that. And two generations at least had grown up under the belief or at least the, had followed the Supreme Court decision uh, and a whole way of life had developed, especially in the South based on the Supreme Court decision in Plessy so it was a major change uh, in the constitutional interpretation when the Brown decision was made. So to have it unanimous I think was very effective in rousing public support for the Brown decision.