Turns out there was a valid reason the GPS got it wrong--the Supreme Court case was tried in the summer of 1951 in the courtroom of the Old Federal Building. The Old Federal Building later became the Post Office--but now it's the Old Post Office because Topeka's built both a new Federal Building and a new Post Office. (BTW, the Old Post Office which used to be the Old Federal Building is for sale. Do you see a pattern here? Or maybe an upcoming identify crisis? Even more confusion for the GPS?)
Back in the truck, we drove to the Old Monroe Elementary School which now houses the Visitor Center. It's so nice to know that it's not just MY sense of direction that's fallible. (Ha! Stupid GPS!)
Monroe was one of four segregated elementary schools for African American kids in Topeka. The state law said that schools could be "separate but equal".
The ranger there is really nice and answered all my questions. I don't think they get a lot of visitors.There's a movie. Actually, 5 movies in 5 minute segments that just play over and over in the old gym.
There's either too much information or not enough space at this park. Several of the classrooms have been opened up, and displays put in to explain the history of Civil Rights. One side of the building has focuses on Education and Justice; the other side on the Legacy of the decision.
Five separate lawsuits about desegregation of schools were combined and argued in front of the US Supreme Court. Together they became known as Brown v. Board of Education. The landmark Supreme Court decision in 1954 brought an end to racial segregation in America's schools. Eventually...
There are timelines that show events going back 500 years, displays that show in pictures and video events as they happened, with some interactive bits scattered along the way.
Some of this stuff I remember from the news. Much of it was new to me. It's interesting to see things that were current events while I was growing up that have now become history considered so important they made a National Historic Site out of it.
They've recently set up a 1954 kindergarten room--representative of a classroom of that time, with a few modern twists. I've never seen one with a fireplace before!
Administration offices are upstairs. Still looks like a school, doesn't it?