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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.


Fred Rausch Jr. interview

Fred Rausch Jr. interview
Creator: Rausch, Fred
Date: October 12, 1994
Fred Rausch, Jr. grew up in East Topeka and attended Parkdale Elementary School, Lincoln Junior High, and East Topeka Junior High. Rausch was elected to the Topeka School Board in 1957, shortly after the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision that declared segregated educational facilities unconstitutional. He was partially responsible for the integration of teachers. When the school board attempted to place African American teachers in positions at formerly white schools they encountered harsh opposition from both white and black parents. He recalls that this furor died down after a few years. Rausch also discusses how the school districts were rearranged so that children attended a grade school that was no more than six blocks from their home, although he vehemently maintains that the school board never gerrymandered districts for racial purposes. While he admits that, sociologically, integration may have improved students' feelings of self-worth, he is not convinced that integration has improved students' learning abilities and overall education. Rausch left the Topeka Board of Education two years before the Brown case was reopened in 1979. Cheryl Brown Henderson 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.


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.


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.


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