60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Saturday marks 60 years since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to desegregate America’s public schools in the case Brown vs. Board of Education.

Kansas activists marched to celebrate six decades since the ruling and to voice concerns about our current school systems. Lucinda Talbert joined in as her grandmother was one of 13 plaintiffs in the case.

“Although there's been progress, we still have not realized my grandmother's dream,” she told reporters at the rally. “Our public schools are still separate and still unequal."

Talbert rallied with dozens of teachers, students, and people from all over the nation as they marched from the Brown vs. Board of Education national historic site on Monroe Street to the Kansas statehouse.

Their aim was to bring awareness to inequities they believe still exist in schools as the Department of Justice continues to monitor nearly 200 school districts where there's evidence of segregation.

The 60th anniversary also prompted FOX 4 to dig deeper into the history of the case as it pertains to two elementary schools in Topeka: Monroe Elementary and Sumner Elementary.

Monroe was once an all-black school, while Sumner only enrolled white children. The schools were truly considered separate but equal, with comparable resources and teachers.

But the racial segregation still presented problems as it prevented kids like Linda Brown from attending Sumner, the school closest to her home. Her father eventually became a plaintiff in the NAACP’s class action lawsuit against the Topeka Board of Education.

It was a case that joined others from across the nation to get a final ruling that proved separate schools, equal or not, were damaging to society.

"It has been called by some the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th Century,” said Stephanie Kyriazis, Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site.

“It sparked the civil rights movement. They now had strong legal ground to stand on to end segregation in other aspects of society, whether it be Rosa Parks on the buses, drinking fountains, movie theaters, shopping malls throughout the country."

To learn more about visiting the historic site, CLICK HERE.

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