History & Culture

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) is one of the most pivotal opinions ever rendered by that body. This landmark decision highlights the U.S. Supreme Court’s role in affecting changes in national and social policy. Often when people think of the case, they remember a little girl whose parents sued so that she could attend an all-white school in her neighborhood. In reality, the story of Brown v. Board of Education is far more complex.

In December, 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court had on its docket cases from Kansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, and Virginia, all of which challenged the constitutionality of racial segregation in public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court had consolidated these five cases under one name, Oliver Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka. One of the justices later explained that the U.S. Supreme Court felt it was better to have representative cases from different parts of the country. They decided to put Brown first “so that the whole question would not smack of being a purely Southern one.” (For more information on each of the five cases, click on the highlighted state's name above.)

This collection of cases was the culmination of years of legal groundwork laid by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in its work to end segregation. None of the cases would have been possible without individuals who were courageous enough to take a stand against the segregated system.


More information can also be found in the site's official Historic Resource Study. Click here to read the report online.


African American Experience Fund

The mission of the African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation is to preserve African American history by supporting education programs in National Parks that celebrate African American history and culture.

There are 26 National Parks identified by the African American Experience Fund:

African American Civil War Memorial, Washington, D.C.
African Burial Ground National Monument, New York
Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia
Boston African American National Historic Site, Massachusetts
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Kansas
Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Louisiana
Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, Washington, D.C.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio
Paul Laurence Dunbar House at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, Ohio
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Washington, DC
George Washington Carver National Monument, Missouri
Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, South Carolina
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Arkansas
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Virginia
Martin Luther King, Jr National Historic Site, Georgia
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Washington, D.C.
Mary McLeod Bethune National Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Louisiana
Nicodemus National Historic Site, Kansas
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, California
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, Alabama
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Alabama
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Alabama

Last updated: December 1, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1515 SE Monroe Street
Topeka, KS 66612-1143


(785) 354-4273

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