Image of John Brown in Tragic Prelude on front cover of brochure.

From Brown to Brown: Topeka's Civil Rights Story

One hundred years of Kansas history separates John Brown's war on slavery and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that ended racial segregation in the nation's public schools. John Brown's involvement in Bleeding Kansas set the spark that ignited the Civil War that freed millions of enslaved human beings. Brown v. Board of Education fired the opening shots in the Civil Rights Movement determined to end the second class citizenship assigned to African Americans. Just as Brown's death on the gallows inspired abolitionists, the Brown decision lit the spark of hope in a generation of men and women who struggled for equality across the nation.

Today, historic sites in Topeka link the dramatic events of Bleeding Kansas, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Walk in the footsteps of John Brown and others who turned their properties into havens for fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. Learn about immigrants from faraway lands hoping for a better life. Remember the civil rights activists who fought to force open the school house doors for children of all races. These people and stories are part of the continuing struggle to secure the American dream and basic rights for all citizens.

We are glad to hear you will be spending some time in Topeka learning about both the Brown case and the history of civil rights in Topeka. We usually tell visitors to allot at least 1 hour when visiting the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park. That said, some people spend anywhere from 1-2 hours (and sometimes more) here at the park. In regards to the driving tour: If you are looking to use the app and listen to the narrations while driving by the sites and taking photos, we recommend 1-2 hours (to allow for driving time, getting out and reading signs, taking photos, etc.). However, some of the stops, such as the Kansas Museum of History, Kansas State Capitol, and the Great Overland Station are museums that you might want to spend some time in. For example, you could easily spend about 2 hours at the Kansas Museum of History.

Our digital brochure has been converted into a Website, Android App, and iOS App!
We also have an Audio Described copy available on the Apple Store and Play Store or raw mp3 files (zip 21.2 MB) to use on your favourite device
Physical brochures are also available at Brown v. Board of Education NHP, the first stop on the tour!

Image of map of Topeka showing the 16 locations on the driving tour.

Last updated: August 25, 2022

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1515 SE Monroe Street
Topeka , KS 66612-1143


785 354-4273

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