If you only had one tank of gas to get to the destination of your choice, where would you go?
The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka is just a short one-hour trip away from Manhattan and offers galleries, classroom tours, a bookstore and various outdoor activities.
The Brown v. Board of Education was a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that declared racial segregation of students was unconstitutional in public schools. The case was filed by Oliver Brown in 1951 when his daughter Linda Brown was denied access to the all-white elementary schools in Topeka. After he lost to the U.S. District Court in Kansas, Brown took the case to the Supreme Court and ultimately came out victorious.
In 1992, the historical site was established to commemorate the monumental moment in U.S. history.
The historic site includes a guided tour beginning with a film in the auditorium about the history of racial segregation and the fight for equality.
The tour moves into the gallery and includes pictures, short films, exhibits and historical footage that shows what people of color endured and how they battled it. Reviews say the films are shocking and quite graphic — the museum recommends visitors aged 12 or older view them.
The third stop is another gallery that details events during the Civil Rights Movement and the court case. It includes photos and informational exhibits.
The final room is a restored kindergarten classroom from 1954, displaying just what segregated classrooms looked like.
The bookstore has lots of literature about the court case, the Civil Rights Movement, African American history and more.
The outside offers a large grass area for games, having a picnic or reading educational podiums about the establishment surrounding the school. A nearby park and a nature trail connects the historic site to both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails.
If you can’t make the trip, the site also offers a virtual tour, which can be found on its website, featuring eight scenes and pans through each room.
For more information about the museum or the Brown v. Board of Education case you can visit their page on the National Park Service website, or go see it for yourself for just a tank of gas.