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Curriculum - 11th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1945-1990 (Kansas_Benchmark 3) - Brown v. Board (Indicator 1) - Segregated schools

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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.


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 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.


Chris Hansen interview

Chris Hansen interview
Creator: Hansen, Chris
Date: October 5, 1992
Chris Hansen was an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, starting in 1973. In 1984, after the Brown v. Board desegregation case was reopened, Hansen served on the legal team working on this case. The ACLU was representing 17 children and their parents who claimed that the Topeka USD501 district had not fully complied with the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional. The case went before the Federal District Court in October 1986, and four years later after an appeal, the court ruled in favor of the petitioners, stating that Topeka Public Schools had not fully complied with the court decision to desegregate. Hansen's interview discusses his involvement in the case, the plaintiffs (including Linda Brown Smith) and his experiences in Topeka. The interview was conducted by Jean VanDelinder. 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.


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.


Discrimination persists, Smith says

Discrimination persists, Smith says
Creator: Knudsen, Gwyn
Date: October 15, 1986
This article in the Topeka Capital-Journal focuses on Linda Brown Smith who, along with her father Oliver Brown, were plaintiffs in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. Linda Smith had recently testified in a federal court about her experiences attended segregated schools in Topeka, including the Monroe school. Smith was called to the stand as a witness in a re-hearing of the Brown v. Board case to determine whether or not there were still some elements of institutional racial segregation in the Topeka school system. Smith, a plaintiff in the re-opened case, believed that racial discrimination still existed in the schools.


J. W. Cummings to Harold Fatzer

J. W. Cummings to Harold Fatzer
Creator: Cummings, J. W.
Date: November 27, 1953
In this letter J. W. Cummings, a resident of Kansas City, Kansas, appeals to state attorney general Harold Fatzer to not desegregate public schools. According to Cummings, integration would lead to miscegenation and would be the downfall of society. He writes that "we must keep our country great by not permitting a Policing action forcing communities into a like pattern, forming a state against our will. We must have the liberty of community majority choice, to accept or reject the kind of life our children live." He also believed that those causing this "unrest" were violating the principles of democracy and had been unduly influenced by Communist doctrine.


Jean Price interview

Jean Price interview
Creator: Price, Jean
Date: February 12, 1992
Jean (Scott) Price was born in Wichita, Kansas, on June 16, 1929, and attended segregated schools from the first through eighth grades. She then attended the integrated North High School. For a short time she lived in Kansas City, Kansas and attended the segregated Sumner High School. She graduated from North High School in Wichita and later on from Wichita University (now Wichita State University) with a degree in teaching. She also received her master's in education from Emporia State. After moving to Topeka in 1956, Price accepted a job at the Parkdale School where she was the only teacher of African-American descent. After the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional in 1954, Parkdale became integrated. She also taught at the Lowman Hill School. According to her interview, she generally got along well with her students' parents and school officials, even though some were opposed to desegregation. The interview was conducted by Jean VanDelinder.


Maurita Davis interview

Maurita Davis interview
Creator: Davis, Maurita
Date: July 15, 1994
Maurita (Burnett) Davis was born October 8, 1923, in Topeka, Kansas, to her mother Lena Jones Burnett and her father McKinley Burnett. She attended the segregated Monroe school for eight years before she entered the integrated Crane Junior High. Her interview focuses on her experiences with racial discrimination, her time at Monroe, and her father's work in the NAACP. In 1948 her father became president of the Topeka NAACP, and he would later organize members of the NAACP to challenge the segregation of public schools at the primary level (secondary schools were already integrated). These dedicated citizens would become plaintiffs in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The interview was conducted by Jean VanDelinder.


Monroe School in Topeka, Kansas

Monroe School in Topeka, Kansas
Creator: Wolfe, Harold B., 1898-1966
Date: Between 1927 and 1929
Monroe Elementary, completed in 1927, was one of four segregated black schools operating in Topeka. In 1951 a student of Monroe, Linda Brown, and her father, Oliver Brown, became plaintiffs in a legal battle over racial segregation. The case reached the Supreme Court, where it gained the name Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In 1954 the Supreme Court determined that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In 1992 the Monroe School was designated a National Historic Landmark. Now it is a National Parks Service site committed to educating the public about this landmark case in the struggle for civil rights.


NAACP Legal Defense Fund to Charles Bledsoe

NAACP Legal Defense Fund to Charles Bledsoe
Date: September 18, 1950
In his reply to Topekan attorney Charles Bledsoe, NAACP legal counsel Robert L. Carter outlined his initial thoughts on strategies and approaches to the case. Two of Carter's main points were that the Topeka NAACP should recruit "as many plaintiffs and their parents from various grades from the lowest to the highest," and that the case be tried in a three-judge court in order to "by-pass the U.S. Court of Appeals and go directly into the U.S. Supreme Court." The letter from Charles Bledsoe prompting this reply is Kansas Memory item #213409.


National spotlight again on Topeka as Brown case reopens

National spotlight again on Topeka as Brown case reopens
Creator: Knudsen, Gwyn
Date: October 5, 1986
According to this article, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that Topeka USD501 had not fully complied with the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case (1954), which had declared segregated schools unconstitutional. The ACLU was representing 17 children who had attended USD501 schools in 1979 and claimed that some public schools had a serious racial imbalance that the school board had failed to address. The article also discusses how the original Brown decision has evolved and been reinterpreted since 1954. In April 1987 the judge would rule that the Topeka school district had removed all traces of racial segregation, although the plaintiffs would appeal this decision at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.


School segregation banned

School segregation banned
Creator: Topeka State Journal Company
Date: May 17, 1954
The front page of this issue of the Topeka State Journal includes several articles related to the desegregation of schools as mandated by the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education court case. This court case was composed of five cases from the states of South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Kansas. These cases were grouped together under the name of the lead plaintiff in the Kansas case, Oliver Brown. The article titled "Supreme Court Refutes Doctrine of Separate but Equal Education" includes excerpts from the text of the Supreme Court's ruling. The article titled "Court Ruling Hailed: Segregation Already Ending Here, Say School Officials," addresses how the Topeka Board of Education had already begun integrating its elementary schools (at this time both junior high and high schools in Topeka were already integrated). The article "Summary of Court's Segregation Ruling" provides a brief synopsis of Chief Justice Earl Warren's ruling.


Second grade students at Monroe School, Topeka

Second grade students at Monroe School, Topeka
Creator: Schrock, John Edward
Date: March 3, 1949
This photograph shows the second grade class of Monroe Elementary, with their teacher, Edna Vance, seated at the back of the classroom. In 1992 the Monroe School was designated a National Historic Landmark for its involvement in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka court case (1954), which determined that the racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional.


Sumner Grade School, Topeka

Sumner Grade School, Topeka
Creator: Schrock, John Edward
Date: Between 1950 and 1969
Sumner Grade School was a segregated school for whites only that played a prominent role in the desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. Oliver Brown, an African American and the lead plaintiff in this court case, believed that his daughter should be allowed to attend Sumner School, which was only four blocks from their house. Instead, due to her race, his daughter was required to attend the Monroe School for black children located across town. Sumner was one of eighteen schools for white children located in Topeka during the first half of the twentieth century. In 1987 this building was designated a National Historical Landmark and it is not longer in operation.


Vivian Scales interview

Vivian Scales interview
Creator: Scales, Vivian M.
Date: October 30, 1991
Vivian Scales was born March 11, 1922, in Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas, where she attended an integrated grade school. After her family moved to Topeka she became a student at the segregated McKinley Elementary, which was an adjustment for her and her siblings. She later attended Curtis Junior High and Topeka High School. Her interview discusses how extracurricular activities at Topeka High were segregated on the basis of race. After she married and started a family she joined the Topeka chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she became a plaintiff in the Brown v. Board case that called for the desegregation of Topeka grade schools. Scales had attempted to enroll her daughter, Ruth Ann, in fourth grade at Parkdale Elementary, which was only two blocks from their home. Her request was denied. Ruth Ann had attended the segregated Washington and Monroe Elementary schools, which were both located far from the Scales' home. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated educational facilities were unconstitutional. The interview was conducted by Jean VanDelinder.


William Reynolds v. The Board of Education of the City of Topeka, original proceeding in mandamus

William Reynolds v. The Board of Education of the City of Topeka, original proceeding in mandamus
Creator: Wilson, W. H.
Date: May 1903
These records relate to the original proceedings in mandamus and return to alternative writ of mandamus, filed with the Kansas State Supreme Court. William Reynolds, the plaintiff, was a resident of Lowman Hill school district and the father of Raoul Reynolds, an eight-year-old student who had attended a desegregated school in the district until the building was destroyed by fire. A new and modern brick building, Lowman School, was constructed; however, it was designated for white students and black students were forced to attend an older and undesirable building, Douglass School. In February 1902, William Reynolds brought his son to Lowman School for enrollment, but the principal refused because the child was of African descent. Mr. Reynolds was directed to enroll his son in Douglass School designated for black students. The plaintiff accused the Board of Education of violating the Constitution of the State of Kansas and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Reynolds demanded that his son be admitted to Lowman School, to be taught without regard to his race or color, and to be treated in all respects as a white child.


William Reynolds vs. The Board of Education of the City of Topeka, proceeding in mandamus

William Reynolds vs. The Board of Education of the City of Topeka, proceeding in mandamus
Creator: Kansas Supreme Court
Date: April 28, 1902
Proceeding in mandamus filed with the Kansas State Supreme Court. William Reynolds, the plaintiff, was a resident of Lowman Hill school district and the father of Raoul Reynolds, an eight-year-old student who had attended a desegregated school in the district until the building was destroyed by fire. A new and modern brick building, Lowman School, was constructed; however, it was designated for white students and black students were forced to attend an older and undesirable building, Douglass School. In February 1902, William Reynolds brought his son to Lowman School for enrollment, but the principal refused because the child was of African descent. Mr. Reynolds was directed to enroll his son in Douglass School designated for black students. The plaintiff accused the Board of Education of violating the Constitution of the State of Kansas and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Reynolds demanded that his son be admitted to Lowman School, to be taught without regard to his race or color, and to be treated in all respects as a white child.


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