"We conclude that in the field of Education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
- U.S Supreme court, 1954
May 17 marks the 65th anniversary of the groundbreaking ruling of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. And in recognition of this landmark anniversary, Topeka will host a 10-day celebration honoring the legacy of the this momentous case and reflecting on the history of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.
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From May 10 - 19, experience historic tours, performance art pieces, documentary viewings, a film festival and multiple community discussions. Did we mention the majority of these events are completely FREE?
Here's our day-to-day break down of this historic celebration!
Presented by Brown v. Board Sumner Legacy Trust, Hear Our Voices is a collection of stories about black neighborhoods, life, times, and the culture in the 1940s and 50s. Enjoy this theatrical production at the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC).
The theatrics continue at Topeka High School with local playwright Tyson Williams' new play, Smoke Behind Closed Doors. Tickets are $15 per person.
May 11 & 14
Tour five cultural art sites with accompanying tour guide to over 30 Topeka sites. Tours begin in front of Topeka High School on 10th Street.
Enjoy an original interpretive dance created by Steven Massey of Blaque Onyx Artistic Creations at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
This is a unique opportunity for individuals and small groups to share memories of their own education experience, impressions of the 1954 Supreme Court decision and its impact and their hopes going forward. Self help oral history kits and assistance with recording will also be available.
Visit the Mulvane Art Gallery, on Washburn University campus, to view this temporary art exhibit featuring three works from the permanent collection to engage viewers with notions of freedom of expression and civil liberty. This event will include the Gallery Talk: Unanimous by Dr. Brett Beatty.
Tour Monroe Elementary, where the National Park Service helps preserve and interpret the nationally significant history of the 1954 Supreme Court case. Enjoy exhibits, talk with park rangers, and take a self-guided Brown to Brown city tour. Be sure to stick around for the preview of the KTWU Documentary Preview: I Just Want to Testify.
The Brown V Board Film Festival, presented by Jayhawk Theatre, is a day of award-winning films centering on the topic of civil rights. Films include Daughters of Dust, Lean on Me and BlacKKKlansman. Oscar-winning screenwriter of BlacKKKlansman Kevin Willmott will lead a discussion on the film directly following. This event is free but registration is encouraged.
Join us for a community street party at the Brown V Board Mural featuring live music and food trucks.
This symposium, taking place at TPAC, will feature panelists and round tables, including opportunities to participate for all attendees. Discussion will move from the largely black and white lens of 1954 through diversity, opportunity and potential in the present and future.
May 18 & 19
65th Anniversary Brown V Board Tours
For even more information on this 10-day celebration, check out Brown V Board of Education 65th Anniversary: An Unfinished Agenda.