Today’s Illustration: I Was The Beginning Of The End, But Not The End

When: May 17, 1954

Who: U.S. Supreme Court

What: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

  • 1896 — Plessy v. Ferguson — separate but equal” was the S.C. ruling
  • Linda Brown attempted to attend an all-white school in Topeka, Kansas.
  • Olive Brown, Linda’s father, filed a lawsuit against the board of education.
  • Fred M. Vinson (a Democrat), Chief Justice of the SCOTUS, was inclined to let segregation stand.
  • Vinson died before the case was presented to the SCOTUS.
  • President Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as the Chief Justice in his place.
  • Earl Warren wrote the Brown ruling for the majority. [2]
  • Unanimous decision
  • Racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional
  • “Separate but equal” was overturned and declared unconstitutional
  • Public schools were told to end segregation “with all deliberate speed.”
  • “The ruling set the foundation for the civil rights movement and gave African American’s hope that “separate, but equal” on all fronts would be changed. Unfortunately, however, desegregation was not that easy and is a project that has not been finished, even today.” [3]


  • “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” — MLK
  • “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — MLK
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” — MLK
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — MLK
  • “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” — MLK


Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • sanctification
  • growth / change
  • striving
  • that I might obtain
  • press towards the mark
  • run with patience
  • discipleship
  • Bible teaching
  • raising children
  • advice
  • instruction
  • soul winning / evangelism
  • missions
  • pastoring
  • discrimination / slavery


Sermonic Example: There are several distinct ways to use illustrative material.

(use whatever you find useful in the above details)

 . . . . That decision was the first step, far from the final step.  It was the beginning of the end, but not the end.  That is true with many landmark historical, societal, and life decisions.  Major decisions are the beginning of the end but are not the end.  Much work still needs to be done even though that landmark “supreme court” decision has been made. . . . . .

We call that process in Christianity — “sanctification.”  It is a process, not a point. . . . .

Other Information & Links:


2. Earl Warren was Governor of California, Attorney General of California, Chair of the Republican Party, and ultimately the 14th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


“Impact of Brown v. Board of Education

Though the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board didn’t achieve school desegregation on its own, the ruling (and the steadfast resistance to it across the South) fueled the nascent civil rights movement in the United States.

In 1955, a year after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and would lead to other boycotts, sit-ins and demonstrations (many of them led by Martin Luther King Jr.), in a movement that would eventually lead to the toppling of Jim Crow laws across the South.”

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