tv Brown v. Board of Education and the Monroe School CSPAN November 25, 2016 5:05pm-5:15pm EST
research activity that you can imagine, and, you know, has an incredible history to it. i couldn't build also some like this today anywhere in the world. american history tv is -- as recorded by c spans -- the history of the national parks all day today here on c-span3. ♪ we are standing in the kindergarten room of the monroe
elementary school at brown v. -- this was one of the schools operating in topeka in 1951 when the brown v. board much education case was filed in district court. the case is a small people of much hearer that started in the early 1930s, which was part of the national association for the advancement of colored people's, or naacp struggle to overturn segregation in public education. they were attempting to file cases that would eventually lead to overturn a call called my versus ferguson. that allowed the state of louisiana so segregate railcars
by race. once the supreme court made the decision that was constitutional, you saul an explosion of laws, in the south especially, that permitted segregated facilities in all sectors in public life. so the naacp was attempting to overturn that precedent. they knew they had try to do it in one case so begins in the 1930s. they began to chip away and then work down to -- brown v. board of education, brown is the first name to appear out of the list of plaintiffs. here in kansas the local chapter of the naacp, both of lawyers recruited. and all 13 of those parents --
elementary schools here. so oliver brown was a friend of one of the lawyers, a man named charles bled so, so the lawyers basically recruited those that they knew would be good upstanding citizens that would want to participate. oliver brown's names is listed first, though there will a woman named darlene brown, who would have been listed first, and for some reason oliver brown's name, he was simply one of those 13 parents that was recruited, and nationwide there were actually five cases that were part of the brown decision that included over 200 plaintiffs total. so swrus by a chance of history we refer to it by the brown
family when they were one piece of a much larger story. the kinder garden room tells an important piece of the story in that the facilities here were excellent. a when a lot of people walk in the building, if they're old enough to remember going to kinder garden in a school like this, it looks like the one they attended. the facilities were really excellent, so it serves to remind people that education is about being in a safe place, where you can learn from people who are sympathetic and can understand you, and that's what was happening here, that this was an excellent educational experience. then when they go out and see the exhibits and photographs of what schools were like in south carolina, in virginia, in the district of columbia, and they see what african-american communities endure, then they begin to question how difficult it was for african-americans all across the country to receive a good education in their
community. here in topeka, though, if you looked at the schools just standing outside, you would be hard-pressed to determine whether white students or african-american students attended, because the school board did provide all the same materials that the white schools offered. what is mo interesting is they find out that after graduating from elementary school, african american students attended integrated middle and high schools because the law in kansas only permitted segregation in elementary schools with cities of more than 15,000. you had separate schools in topeka, and about a accident other communities in the early 1950s, but no other communities could lylely segregate their schools. why there were surge no supporter and obviously saw the justice of having to attend separate school, the african-american community also was very proud of their schools.
these were excellent facilities. the teachers teaching in the classrooms like the one we're standing in right now all had bachelor's degrees if not master's degrees. these were some of the only professional jobs, so while there was support for the idea of be grax. there was also some resistance, especially from the teachers and local chapter of the naacp who feared the loss of these institutions and the loss of those jobs. those were not unwarranted. when the middle schools integrated a few years purpose there were african-american teachers who lost their jobs. there was very much a tension between what was going to be gained, which was full access to neighborhood schools where these african american children lived, but also a sense of loss of what was going to happen to these teachers. the museum was very much designed to tell the broader story of the struggle for civil
rights in american history. really the roots of that go back to the origins of slavery in the united states. so when you interthe building you'll by greeted by a park ranger, and then the focal pointer beginning point is a 25-minute series of films, which is set up as a dialogue between a young woman and older man, which traces the struggle for civil rights from the origins of slavery, the abolition of slavery and the civil war and its replacement with an institution that was every bit as unjust which were segregation laws. then the visitors can move into the first gallery of exhibits which looks at the important of education, and that leads up to the decision to use education as the legal issue whereby the naacp would end all segregation laws. as i mentioned before, that was really just the wedge issue to integrate educational facilities, and then all the other dominos would fall.
those did not fall easily. one of the most powerful portions is called the hall of courage, which is news footage gathered from various locations around the country which were in opposition to the brown decision and the moment to integrate schools. that took place all over the nation, including northern states like massachusetts, where there were riots in protest of bussing policies to create integrated schools. while there weren't any major protests or major disruptions here in topeka and in kansas, there very much was on a national level extremely violent and extremely bloody and extremely costly to the united states. so so imagine what it might be like to be a 16-year-old boy or girl and confronted by a mob is what the hall of courage is attempting to re-create, probably one of the most visceral a visceral exhibits here. one of the things we are here to
do is help engage in dialogues about these issues, because they're ongoing, continuous in our society. there are news court cases and new groups constantly struggling for better access, equal access to civil rights. the mission is to preserve our country's heritage, in that we don't go and build museums about subjects that are important. we preserve places that were an integral part of that story. we believe that by preserves thor pieces, even if they're difficult stories to tell, like segregation and integration or japanese internment camps, that visitorses, whether from the u.s. or abroad, whether caucasian or african-american, you better understand the story when you're standing in the place where they events actually happened. there's something intangible in these places that you can feel the history resonating by being in these places that
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