The judges of the U.S. Southern District Court in Des Moines staged a reenactment Friday of the historic Supreme Court case that ended school segregation 50 years ago. Nick Drees played the role of John Davis, the attorney and former presidential candidate, who argued in favor of keeping the “Separate but Equal” status in schools. The argument continued that the states created equal schools and those schools were not hurting the black children.Don Nickerson played the role of Thurgood Marshall, the attorney who argued on behalf of changing the law. Marshall, who later became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, disagreed with the argument that black children were not being damaged by segregation. He argued that the harm occurs early and is psychological and emotional, and never goes away.Marshall argued the “Separate but Equal” ruling of the high court went against the ideals of the 14th Amendment — which was passed in 1868.The Southern District Court opened the proceedings to microphones and television cameras — something that’s not allowed during normal sessions. The actual anniversary of the decision is May 17th.
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