TOPEKA, Ks. — The civil rights movement has a long history in the United States — including in Kansas.
And now more than ever, people are looking to learn more about that history.
“In 1951 Oliver Brown, along with 12 other families, sued the Topeka Board of Education for not allowing their children to go to the white schools. Brown said segregated schools went against his daughter Linda’s 14th amendment right to equality.”
Dexter Armstrong, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, said, “What makes ‘separate but equal’ inherently unequal, which they used to change the face of the country forever.”
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Topeka families and more than 150 other plaintiffs across the country. American schools would integrate.
“The Brown vs. Board case served as a catalyst for desegregation in America, and helped kick off the civil rights movement.”
Mynesha Spencer, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, said, “Public school integration served as the impetus, if you will, for integration across public accommodations in the United States.”
And it all began at Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, where Linda Brown was a student. Now, it’s a National Historic Site and Museum, where people can visit and see what it was like to be a black student in 1950s Kansas.
“You will be able to come in and really kind of relish in that space, understanding that, at one point, this was a segregated school.”
The museum also has exhibits to learn, not only about the momentous court case, but also about civil rights, from slavery to current day. Including interactive displays, questions about how you can continue to fight inequality and historic photos and videos.
The museum is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free to the public.