On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States of America declared that separate but equal was not.
Monroe Elementary School had been one of four segregated sites in Topeka, and Oliver L. Brown was a father who wanted his daughter to attend the school that was seven blocks from their home, instead of the segregated black school – Monroe – that was a mile away. He and twelve other plaintiffs took the school district to court in 1951, and lost.
But they appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court combined their case with four others from around the country. What should have been an obvious overturn was delayed for another year because the court couldn’t state what was logical and right, but finally, finally in 1954 they came to the unanimous decision that the doctrine of separate but equal was unconstitutional.
Of all of the places we visited on our 31 day road trip, Brown v. Board National Historic Site was the hardest. One of the former classrooms displayed videos of adults yelling at schoolchildren as they walked towards their school, just because their skin was a darker shade.
How does a grown person ever, EVER think that’s OK?