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Brown v. Board Of Education Decision Turns 60

Brown v. Board Of Education Decision Turns 60

By Lynne Roberts. CREATED May 17, 2014

Today marks the 60th anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case

Brown v. Board of Education challenged racial segregation in public schools. 

The movement started with Oliver Brown, who called out the education system in Topeka, Kansas. 

He argued that the school where he wanted to send his daughter, Linda, wasn't integrated and that wasn't fair.

Brown's concerns echoed all the way to Washington, D.C. where the high court would later rule unanimously in favor of Brown and the nearly 200 other plaintiffs named in the class-action lawsuit.

Brown's daughters, Linda and Cheryl, will be part of a traveling exhibit to Central High School in Springfield. 

It's scheduled to arrive in late July.

Edited from a press release from Springfield-Greene County Library District:

Linda and Cheryl Brown were children when their father the Rev. Oliver L. Brown joined other parents in a lawsuit challenging racial segregation in the Topeka, Kan., public schools. Their challenge became the landmark, 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In this 60th Cheryl Brown Henderson will share the story of “Brown v. Board of Education and How it Changed America,” 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31, in the Central High School auditorium, 432 E. Central St. The program will include a short video about Brown v. Board of Education and an audience Q&A.

The Browns have a personal tie to Springfield. In 1959 the family moved here, and the Rev. Oliver Brown was pastor of Benton Avenue AME Church. Linda graduated from Central High School in 1961. When the Rev. Brown died that year, his widow moved the family back to Topeka. The Brown sisters’ visit is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and The Library Foundation.

The program is part of a series July 12-August 22 with the traveling exhibit at the Library Center, “Changing America The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963.

Information on traveling exhibit:

This traveling exhibit for all ages comes to the Library Center July 9-Aug. 22. Nine panels stunningly portray the impact these historic events had on the extension of equal rights to all Americans. It is based on an original interactive exhibition developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Library and the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative invite the public to join the discussion of civil rights and race relations by visiting the exhibit and attending this series of programs. The project caps the collaborative’s yearlong focus on race and race relations.

• Exhibit Opening Ceremony

Saturday, July 12, 1-3 p.m. Library Center auditorium. H. Wes Pratt, Missouri State University equal opportunity officer, will discuss how these historical events grew out of bold actions and vision. The band Geezer will perform protest songs that energized popular causes including the Civil Rights Movement.

• Images of the “Changing America” Exhibit

July 12-Aug. 22, Park Central Branch Library. See historical images from the larger exhibit on display at the Library Center July 9-Aug. 22.

• Marching Towards Justice: Nannie Helen Burroughs and the Quest for Race Equality

Tuesday, July 15, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium, for adults. Dr. Angela Hornsby-Gutting, associate professor of history at Missouri State University, will talk about race activist Nannie Helen Burroughs. She operated the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., from 1909-1961, instilling racial pride while promoting the dignity of black labor and black womanhood. Burroughs’ life demonstrates the contributions black women made on behalf of civil rights overall.

Thursday, July 17, 6:30 p.m. Brentwood Branch Library, “Kindred” by Octavia Butler.

• Book Discussion, “Kindred”

• “The Loving Story”

Saturday, July 19, 1 p.m., Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Ave., for adults. Not rated, 77 minutes. Free admission. This inspiring, 2012 HBO documentary follows interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, convicted of miscegenation after they were married in 1958. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in the couple's favor, overturning bans on interracial marriage throughout the country.

• Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, July 22, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Dr. King’s rhetoric and the Civil Rights

Movement transformed the nation. Dr. Richard Schur, professor of English at Drury University, will explore King’s speeches and how his message changed over his lifetime. Shur will consider the country’s progress regarding race relations and identify areas where we need to draw on the spirit of King to advance the cause of freedom.

• “Slavery by Another Name”

Tuesday, July 29, 6 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Not rated, 90 minutes. This 2012 PBS documentary challenges the belief that slavery in the United States ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how, even as chattel slavery ended in the South in 1865, thousands of African-Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th

• Book Discussion

Wednesday, July 30, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium. “March: Book One” by John Lewis.

• Brown v. Board of Education and How it Changed America, with Sisters

Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson

Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m., Central High School auditorium, 432 E. Central St. Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson will share their experiences as daughters of the named plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. The late Rev. Oliver Brown was pastor of Springfield's Benton Avenue AME Church, and Linda graduated from Central High School in 1961. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Decision. The program will include a short video about Brown v. Board of Education and an audience Q&A.

• American Experience: “The Abolitionists”

Sunday, Aug. 3, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Not rated, 180 minutes. The 2013 PBS special dramatizes how abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that changed the nation.

• American Experience: “Freedom Riders”

Thursday, Aug. 7, 6-8 p.m., Springfield Art Museum, 1111 E. Brookside Drive. Not rated, 117 minutes. This 2010 PBS film documents the story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders, who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South.

• Slavery in America: The Final Chapters, 1863-1865

Monday, August 18, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation marked the beginning of the end of slavery, but it took two more years of struggle before the peculiar institution would finally disappear from American life. Learn what happened during those years from Dr. Greg Renoff, associate professor of history at Drury University.

This grant-funded exhibit, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The tour of the exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. The films are part of the Created Equal film series, developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities in collaboration with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Lynne Roberts

Lynne Roberts

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Texas native Lynne Roberts joined the KTTS news team in January 2014.