The Brown v. Board of Education site portrays how African Americans and others were long denied equal public education and provides an enlightening look at this challenging time in our nation’s history. The gravity of what the site represents is obvious from the moment you enter the old Monroe School. Overhead signs declare “white” and “colored” as loudly as if they’d been shouted, and a large map details the school segregation that existed across the nation prior to the Brown v. Board ruling.
In another display, visitors can guess whether statements they hear about segregation are fact or fiction. For instance, “Oliver Brown single-handedly sued the Topeka School Board on behalf of his daughter” is fiction. Brown was actually one of 13 parents representing 20 children in the 1954 class action suit.
Adults are advised to accompany kids under the age of 12 into a short passageway where tall video displays loop continuous raw news footage of confrontations after the court ruling. You’ll also see video interviews with young people of all races sharing their views about discrimination, and at Expression Station, you’ll have an opportunity to make a computerized statement reflecting on the site and its related issues.