Mural unveiled to commemorate landmark Brown v Board decision

A mural commemorating the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision that struck down racial segregation in public schools was unveiled in the Statehouse today with dignitaries from across Kansas noting the landmark case paved the way for civil rights gains but that the fight for equality continues. 

Kenya Cox, executive director of the Kansas African-American Affairs Commission, said, “What an amazing day in Kansas history.” Cox said the mural “is an opportunity to tell the story of hope, faith and struggle and ultimately triumph.” 

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The case was filed against the Topeka school district and combined five other cases. 

The mural, located on the third floor of the state Capitol outside the Old Supreme Courtroom, was done by Michael Young of Kansas City, Kan. and paid for with donated funds. 

Kevin Myles, southeast regional field director of the NAACP, said the mural tells an important story of America. “The story of America is not complete unless it includes everybody,” he said. 

The mural also commemorates a time of struggle, just as today there is much struggle in the United States, Myles said. He said it should give Americans hope because “when we look at this mural, we have done this before.” 

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said the Brown decision to end segregation was important for the advancement of the United States because children of all races blossom when they are in an environment of shared experiences. 

Gov. Jeff Colyer said of the Kansas case, “All the Brown girls wanted to do was go to school. What a radical idea.” 

Cheryl Brown Henderson, a daughter of one of the original plaintiffs, said it is important to study the case and its history and she read a roll call of the families and attorneys involved in the struggle. Also speaking at the event was Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, who authored the bill that set up the effort for the mural. 

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