Bulah v. Gebhart; Belton v. Gebhart (1952)
- Delaware District Court
- The strongest social and psychological attack yet on Plessy.
- Frederic Wertham, a psychologist from the Lafargue Clinic in Harlem, argues that segregation confirms or sanctions in white children some of the worst prejudices absorbed from other sources in the community. In the mind of the Negro child, segregation creates an unsolvable and inevitable emotional conflict, for they interpret it as punishment that is clear cut
and performed by the
state; this punishment lasts over an extended time period and is bound up in the whole educational process.
- Judge Seitz’s opinion:
o He acknowledged that the practice of racial separation “creates a mental health problem in many Negro children with a resulting impediment to their educational progress.”
o He acknowledged that segregation alone creates inequality.
o He agreed with the plaintiff that the separate but equal standard should be rejected, but he argued that its rejection had to come from the Supreme Court itself.
o He rejected Parker’s position in
Briggs which accepted the efforts that the schools had made to equalize facilities and ordered the white public schools to admit black children.
o The first real victory in the campaign according to Marshall.