Roots of Racial Justice in South Carolina The odyssey of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling began when a rural preacher named Rev. J. A. DeLaine and his neighbors in Clarendon County filed a lawsuit demanding the end of separate, unequal schools for their children. That lawsuit was the first of five across the nation that would be combined into the landmark 1954 Brown decision, which found that racially segregated schools and the notion of "separate but equal" were inherently unconstitutional. See photos of the area as it looks today.