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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Thematic Time Period - Eisenhower Years, 1946 - 1961 - Civil Rights Movement

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8,000 students affected, state officials see no trouble adjusting schools to new rule

8,000 students affected, state officials see no trouble adjusting schools to new rule
Creator: Topeka Journal
Date: May 17, 1954
This article discusses how the state of Kansas will work to conform to the ruling made in the Brown v. Board of Education decision on May 17, 1954. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the segregation of schools based on race was unconstitutional. Many cities in Kansas, including Topeka, Atchison, Salina, Wichita, and Pittsburg were already working to integrate their schools. Topeka had an estimated 625 African American students who would be affected by the court's ruling, and the article lists the numbers for other cities and towns in the state.


Airmail Special Letter: Robert Carter to Mckinley Burnett

Airmail Special Letter: Robert Carter to Mckinley Burnett
Date: March 31, 1953
Attorney Robert Carter acknowledges receipt of a copy of a letter from McKinley Burnett sent with an enclosed memo from Superintendent of Topeka Schools, Kenneth McFarland. Carter advises Burnett that if the McFarland proceeds in this (possible dismissal of Negro teachers) he would immediately initiate a court action. Carter further advises that he would be in Des Moines and that he would be happy to meet any teachers who have received "these notices."


Alvin and Lucinda Todd family in Topeka, Kansas

Alvin and Lucinda Todd family in Topeka, Kansas
Date: 1946
A photograph of the Todd family (left to right) Alvin, Nancy and Lucinda, taken in Topeka, Kansas. Lucinda Todd was a participant in the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to desegregate schools. She was also the secretary of the Topeka NAACP which brought the Legal Defense Fund to Topeka.


Alvin and Lucinda Todd Interview

Alvin and Lucinda Todd Interview
Date: Between 1990 and 1996
Oral history interview with Alvin and Lucinda Todd covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Lucinda was born in 1903, she attended Kansas State Teachers College, and eventually earned a bachelors degree from Pittsburg State Teachers College in 1935. Alvin was born in 1906, and attended Washburn University for two years. Alvin provided for his wife while she participated as a key member of Topeka's NAACP chapter during the Brown V. Board of Education case. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Arthur Capper to John N. Johnson

Arthur Capper to John N. Johnson
Creator: Capper, Arthur, 1865-1951
Date: September 13, 1947
In this letter to John H. Johnson, editor of the Negro Digest, Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas addresses the fact that African Americans living in Washington D.C. had "no voice in the Federal Government." According to Capper, African Americans in D.C. were "deprived of this right simply because a certain element is prejudiced against them, and does not want them to enjoy the rights that are given whites and colored in other states."


Attorney Robert Carter to McKinley Burnett

Attorney Robert Carter to McKinley Burnett
Date: September 14, 1951
This letter dated September 14, 1951, is from NAACP Assistant Special Counsel Robert L. Carter to Topeka NAACP Chapter President McKinley Burnett. Carter advises Burnett that the National Chapter of the NAACP would require $5,000 to take the Brown case to the United States Supreme Court. However, Carter explained that the money would have to be raised locally and that nearby NAACP chapters could contribute if they so desired.


Barbara Gibson Interview

Barbara Gibson Interview
Date: September 25, 1992
Interview with Barbara Gibson covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Barbara was a part of Topeka High's Class of 1943. Barbara attended Washburn University and Howard University, where she majored in math and German. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Barbara Henry Interview

Barbara Henry Interview
Date: May 19, 1996
Oral history interview with Barbara Henry covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Barbara was born in 1947 and attended Delaware State College (now University), an African American college.


Berdyne Scott Interview

Berdyne Scott Interview
Date: November 24, 1991
Oral history interview with Berdyne Scott covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Berdyne was born in raised in Topeka, Kansas. She attended McKinley Elementary and Curtis Junior High prior to integration. Berdyne worked as a teacher and after retirement hosted workshops on the importance and meaning of the Brown v. Board of Education case.


Broadus Butler Sr. Interview

Broadus Butler Sr. Interview
Date: May 19, 1995
Oral history interview with Broadus Butler, Sr. covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Butler attended a segregated school outside of Simpsonville, South Carolina. After World War II, Butler went to college at South Carolina State to study vocational agriculture with the goal of teaching and eventually becoming a school principal. In 1971 he became the first African American superintendent in South Carolina, and served in this role for seven years.


Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: The case of the century

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: The case of the century
Creator: Kansas Bar Association
Date: 2004
Produced by the Kansas Bar Association, this 70-minute video features a reenactment of the 1952 and 1953 oral arguments presented to the United States Supreme Court in the landmark school segregation case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.


Carl Williams Interview

Carl Williams Interview
Date: November 4, 1991
Oral history interview with Carl WIlliams, Jr. covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Carl was born in 1920, and attended Monroe Elementary, a segregated school for African American children in Topeka. Carl was very active in African American organizations and civic clubs in the Topeka area. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Charles E. Bledsoe to the NAACP Legal Department

Charles E. Bledsoe to the NAACP Legal Department
Creator: Bledsoe, Charles E.
Date: September 5, 1950
In the letter, Charles E. Bledsoe, attorney for the Topeka Chapter of the NAACP, outlines the general nature of Topeka's situation as influenced by local laws. In particular, Bledsoe refers to the Kansas Permissive Law of 1879 that allowed individual school districts to segregate schools if they so desired. However, the law did not mandate school segregation in Kansas. The response to this letter is Kansas Memory item #213410.


Charles Hill Interview

Charles Hill Interview
Date: May 5, 1996
Oral history interview with Charles Hill covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Charles attended Claymont School in 1952 when the school began to integrate. Charles notes that it was not until years later that he began to realize the significance of his school's integration.


Charles I. Baston interview

Charles I. Baston interview
Creator: Baston, Charles I.
Date: May 14, 1992
Charles Baston was born in Lee's Summit, Missouri, on April 24, 1917. He attended grade school and junior high school while still living in Lee's Summit, and after junior high he moved to Topeka to attend the Kansas Vocational Technical School. He moved to Topeka permanently after his World War II discharge. Baston was a member of the executive committee of the local chapter of the NAACP during the Brown v. Board hearings. Much of his interview deals with the NAACPs role in finding plaintiffs in the Brown case, the problem with busing students to segregated schools, and other individuals who were instrumental to the success of this suit. Towards the end of the interview he also talks about how the Brown decision has not reached its full potential because of the racial prejudices that still exist today. Jean VanDelinder conducted the interview. The Brown v. Board oral history project was funded by Hallmark Cards Inc., the Shawnee County Historical Society, the Brown Foundation for Educational Excellence, Equity, and Research, the National Park Service, and the Kansas Humanities Council. Parts of the interview may be difficult to hear due to the quality of the original recording. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Charles Sudduth Interview

Charles Sudduth Interview
Date: July 27, 1994
Oral history interview with Charles Sheldon Sudduth covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Charles attended Douglas Elementary school, a two room schoolhouse, while his siblings went to the integrated Topeka High School. He did not have many interactions with white people until reaching high school himself. Charles became the first African American stockman at Green's Grocery Store. Charles had three children with his first wife, and two adopted children from his second marriage. The Brown v. Board of Education decision really helped his children that were in school at the time. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Cheryl Brown Henderson Interview

Cheryl Brown Henderson Interview
Date: December 4, 1991
Oral history interview with Cheryl Brown Henderson covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Cheryl was born in 1950 in Topeka, Kansas. Her father, Oliver Brown, was among the parents involved in the class action court case known as Brown v. Board of Education. following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board, Cheryl began school in the newly integrated elementary system of Topeka. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Christina Jackson Interview

Christina Jackson Interview
Creator: Jackson, Christina
Date: September 20, 1991
Christina Jackson was born on August 15, 1926, in Topeka, Kansas, to Georgia and Jess Edwards. In this interview, Jackson speaks about her experiences at the segregated Washington Elementary School and then at the integrated East Topeka Junior High and Topeka High School. According to Jackson, Washington had very strict teachers who emphasized the importance of learning about African American history. Her children attended Monroe School and, after desegregation, moved to State Street School, which had formerly been a school for white children only. Her children recalled that the faculty at State Street worked hard to integrate the black students, who were for the most part accepted by their peers. It was not until her children entered Holliday Junior High that they struggled with racial discrimination and derogatory comments. Jackson also discusses her work experiences and involvement in social clubs and volunteer organizations. This interview was conducted by Jean VanDelinder and Ralph Crowder. The Brown v. Board oral history project was funded by Hallmark Cards Inc., the Shawnee County Historical Society, the Brown Foundation for Educational Excellence, Equity, and Research, the National Park Service and the Kansas Humanities Council. Parts of the interview may be difficult to hear due to the quality of the original recording. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Citizens Committee on Civil Rights: The People, Fight Back

Citizens Committee on Civil Rights: The People, Fight Back
Date: 1948
This 1948 leaflet was created by the Citizens Committee on Civil Rights and used in conjunction with a citywide petition later rejected by the Topeka Board of Education. The Citizens Committee on Civil Rights was a group headquartered at the home of Lucinda Todd. The leaflet, circulated around Topeka's black community, requested funds to support the effort. Mrs. Todd and Mrs. Dan Sawyer walked the streets of Topeka to get the petition signed by almost every black household.


Clarence E. "Sonny" Scroggins Interview

Clarence E. "Sonny" Scroggins Interview
Date: July 27, 1994
Oral history interview with C.E. "Sonny" Scroggins covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Sonny became active in the NAACP at a very young age, between ten and eleven years old. He participated in sit-ins and run-ins at local businesses in Checotah, Oklahoma. While living in Topeka, Sonny was involved in getting Monroe Elementary School on the National Register of Historic Places. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Claude Emerson Interview

Claude Emerson Interview
Date: October 25, 1991
Oral history interview with Claude Arthur Emerson covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Claude was born in 1942, the Emerson family was represented in the class action case to end segregation in Topeka's elementary schools, which became the Brown v. Board of Education case. Lowman Hill Elementary was closest to the Emersons' home, but due to segregation Claude and his brother had to attend Buchanan Elementary. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Clementine Martin Interview

Clementine Martin Interview
Date: Between 1990 and 1996
Oral history interview with Clementine Martin covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Clementine attended Washburn University for a year before leaving college and marrying Eugene Martin. Eugene worked as one of the few nonwhite policemen in Topeka, which also barred him and his wife from joining any civil rights organizations early on. Clementine later joined the Kansas Association of Colored Women and the American legion Auxiliary. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Coming Walter White

Coming Walter White
Date: 1949
This flyer announces the upcoming visit of NAACP executive secretary Walter White to Topeka on Tuesday, April 26, 8:15 p.m., Memorial Hall, 10th and Jackson. Under his leadership, the NAACP established the Legal Defense Fund, which helped fight segregation and disenfranchisement throughout the U.S.


Connie Menninger Interview

Connie Menninger Interview
Date: November 15, 1991
Oral history interview with Connie Menninger covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Connie married Dr. William Menninger in 1953, and worked for NBC while her husband attended medical school at Cornell University. as an NBC employee she covered the network broadcast on the Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Her children later attended Randolph Elementary, Boswell Junior High and Topeka High Schools. Connie also worked and volunteered with the Kansas Historical Society for almost 15 years. This interview has a signed release for scholarly or educational purposes only.


Constance Motley Interview

Constance Motley Interview
Date: October 6, 1992
Oral history interview with Judge Constance Motley covering their role and impressions of the Brown v. Board case. Constance decided to pursue a career as a lawyer and worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund team. She assisted on one of the four other school segregation cases being tried around the same time of the Brown v. Board of Education case. Following the Brown decision, she was involved in school cases in Atlanta, Savannah, Brunswick, and Albany, Georgia, as well as twelve cases in Florida. in September of 1966 she became the first female African American federal judge.


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