Sixty four years ago Thursday is when the Brown V. Board of Education decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision ended racial segregation in schools.
In honor of the anniversary, a new mural commemorating the historic case was unveiled at the Kansas Capitol.
A reminder of the past is now painted on the wall outside the old Kansas Supreme Court room.
“It serves as a constant reminder to us that we stand on the shoulders of all of those depicted in the mural that struggled to make this happen,” said U.S. District Chief Judge Julie Robinson.
The struggles Robinson talked about would help to end racial segregation in public schools across the country.
“It took protesters to make sure students had access to public education without barriers of race,” explained Cheryl Brown Henderson of the The Brown Foundation for Education Equity.
Brown Henderson’s parents were among the original plaintiffs in the Brown V. Board of Education case, which called for the Topeka district to reverse its policy of segregating elementary schools by race.
“We have the responsibility as the named family to make sure we acknowledge the work, the people, the sacrifice to make this possible,” she said.
“I’d like them to see the story from left to right about the skirmish and protesters against integration,”explained artist Michael Young.
Young’s 22-foot wide mural captures the atmosphere of the polarized time.
“In the center I wanted to have the integrated class, a teacher reading to an integrated class of students,” he explained.
“It’s personal to so many Kansans,” said State Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City. “My father, George Haley, was one of the attorneys who worked proudly on the case.”
Haley hopes the mural will help others to understand the fight it took to get a fair education.
“Inclusion is the American tapestry,” Haley said. “What we stand for is the opportunity for all.”
The mural cost more than $100,000, however, no public money was used.