Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

WE'RE ASKING YOU TO TALK ABOUT THE BROWN CASE AS BEING A CHANGEOVER FROM THE PREVIOUS CASE.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Of course, prior to the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown case, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund had devoted its efforts to trying to remedy the situation with respect to unequal facilities for blacks within the context of the doctrine of separate but equal itself. For example, they brought a number of cases, seeking to equalize the salaries of black teachers. They also brought cases which were directed at the graduate school level because no separate facility had been provided for blacks at that level, So they conceived that that would be very easy legally to accomplish since the state had not provided separate facilities for blacks, for example in the Gaines case in Missouri and, and the Donald Murray case in Maryland. The Brown case itself, however, was a departure from that strategy and was a frontal attack on segregation itself as being violative of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

PAUSE.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Now once the Supreme Court decided the case of Plessy against Ferguson which approved of separate facilities for blacks as meeting the requirements of the 14th Amendment that became the law of the land and so the NAACP legal defense and educational fund when it started out in the early ‘40s—the middle ‘40s—with its program of attacking segregation and education directed its efforts toward the graduate school level, where the state had failed to provide any facility for black students at all and that kept them within the framework of separate but equal and it was not a frontal attack on the whole concept of segregation. However after winning one or two cases at that level which opened the graduate schools, that is law schools for example to blacks the strategy changed as result of that success and the strategy for attacking segregation itself was developed and culminated in the supreme courts decision in the Brown case.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

CAMERA ROLL 208.