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THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

On May 17, 1954, a historical moment happened where black children were no longer legally separated from their white peers in schools. Brown vs. board of education is the culmination of five different cases that were heard by the Supreme Court concerning the issue of Segregation in schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled these cases.

Oliver Brown, father to Linda Brown, took action as he wanted his daughter to be able to attend the local school instead of walking 6 blocks to a bus just to ride another mile to a segregated school, as a third grader.

All 5 cases were sponsored by the NAACP. One case in particular, the Davis case, was the originated from a student protest when 16 year old Barbara Rose Johns of Moton High School organized a walkout with 450 students.

Thurmond Marshall, NAACP’s chief counsel argued the case before the Supreme Court. The court made a unanimous decision after being divided on the issue for so long.

The administration building of Topeka Public schools in Kansas is named McKinley Burnett, in honor of the NAACP chapter president who organized the case. On May 4, 1987, Monroe Elementary School of Topeka Kansas was made a National Historic Landmark for its significance to the Brown v. Board of Education Case; in 1992, it was named a national park. The Monroe Elementary School Building was one of four schools in Topeka for African American children up until 1954. This school was attended by three of the plaintiffs children in the Brown vs. board of education case.

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