A Big Day at Brown Vs. Board Tomorrow

Posted by the folks at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site earlier today….

Let Freedom Ring! All across the world bells will be ringing at the same time to culminate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to the minute of when he finished. Please join us at 1:20 for our celebration, including a proclamation from Governor Brownback, the Topeka High drum line, Highland Park High JROTC, and Topeka West High choir. Bells will ring at 2 pm to make a joyful noise around the globe. ~cd

“We are calling on people across America and throughout the world to join with us as we pause to mark the 50th anniversary of my father’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech with ‘Let Freedom Ring’ bell-ringing events and programs that affirm the unity of people of all races, religions and nations,” said King Center C.E.O. Bernice A. King. “My father concluded his great speech with a call to ‘Let freedom ring,’ and that is a challenge we will meet with a magnificent display of brotherhood and sisterhood in symbolic bell-ringing at places of worship, schools and other venues where bells are available from coast to coast and continent to continent.”

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(Image in public domain.)

The story of Brown v. Board of Education, which ended legal segregation in public schools, is one of hope and courage. When the people agreed to be plaintiffs in the case, they never knew they would change history.

The site is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm; closed most federal holidays except for Martin Luther King Jr. Day until further notice.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) is one of the most pivotal opinions ever rendered by that body. This landmark decision highlights the U.S. Supreme Court’s role in affecting changes in national and social policy. Often when people think of the case, they remember a little girl whose parents sued so that she could attend an all-white school in her neighborhood. In reality, the story of Brown v. Board of Education is far more complex.
In December, 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court had on its docket cases from Kansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, and Virginia, all of which challenged the constitutionality of racial segregation in public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court had consolidated these five cases under one name, Oliver Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka. One of the justices later explained that the U.S. Supreme Court felt it was better to have representative cases from different parts of the country. They decided to put Brown first “so that the whole question would not smack of being a purely Southern one.”
This collection of cases was the culmination of years of legal groundwork laid by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in its work to end segregation. None of the cases would have been possible without individuals who were courageous enough to take a stand against the segregated system.

How it All Began

Hello Everyone!

My name is Martie Rison and I started the Topeka History Geeks in 2010.  Seeing as we are all fans of how things began and the journey they took to the present, I thought I would share the story of how the group started with all of you.

I think my passion for local history started when I was a very young girl.  My Great Aunt Hazel worked in the Capitol building and I would get to visit her often.  She would take me around telling me about the history of Topeka and the State, pointing out the paintings and statues around the dome.  Once she took me on a trolley ride around the city and she told me about the things that used to be here but are now gone.  It seemed every time we went some place, she was telling me about how that place came to be.

Collecting images of Topeka’s past came from a hunt to find old family photographs.  It started as a hunt but became my hobby.  Every time I found a new photo online I would save a copy on my computer to enjoy later.  One day I decided to make a photo file in my personal Facebook account called “Old Topeka Photos”.  My friends started looking through them and sharing the photo album with their friends.  I started getting friend requests from other people just so they could look at the photos I had collected.  So I created the Topeka History Geeks, this way everyone could see the pictures and discuss them as a group.  Originally the group had around 50 members.  Over time we grew and became involved with various historical societies in town as well as attending city preservation meetings.  Today the group is a free forum for people to discuss the history of Topeka and learn about opportunities to take action and join preservation efforts.

It has been a wild ride and I have enjoyed watching the group become what it is today.  History is cool again and people who have lived in Topeka their entire lives are learning things they never knew before.  We are proud to be Topekans and we are just getting started.