A Contrast in Black and White 1936

Charles Hamilton Houston was known as “the man who killed Jim Crow.” While litigation director of the NAACP, he masterminded the legal campaign to end segregation in public schools. His strategy was to attack the viability of the “separate but equal” doctrine established in the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson case.

Houston traveled throughout the southern states in the 1930s, filming the stark contrast between the rundown, overcrowded structures and discarded supplies provided for black students and the well-equipped and maintained facilities enjoyed by white students. His efforts culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 case in which the Supreme Court declared that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the 14th Amendment.