Sen. Moran Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Commemorate Brown v. Board of Education Sites
Feb 08 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined his colleagues in reintroducing legislation to honor and commemorate the historic sites that contributed to the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This legislation would include historic sites in South Carolina while expanding the Brown v. Board of Education Historic Site in Topeka.
“Kansan Linda Brown and her parents took their case all the way to the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, leading to the unanimous overturn of the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine that discriminated against school children because of their skin color,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation will expand and preserve the historic sites in Kansas and around the country connected to this case. Kansas has played a key role in the civil rights movement, and we must seek to preserve this legacy which calls on all Americans to uphold the self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal.”
“The preservation of historic sites connected to the Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, is an important step in remembering the painful but significant impact the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine had on our nation,” said Sen. Coons. “I was raised just a few hundred yards away from the historic Hockessin Colored School – one of the segregated schools that played a role in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Despite this, it was not until law school that I first learned that two cases successfully challenging Delaware’s segregated school system eventually made their way to the Supreme Court and became part of the Brown decision. These Delaware cases are an example of what our nation can accomplish when we face the future by confronting the impact of our past. That’s why this Black History Month, I’m working with Whip Clyburn to honor and commemorate the sites in Delaware and across the country that shaped the history of this landmark decision.”
“South Carolina played a prominent role in one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions in the history of our nation,” said Sen. Graham. “It is important we protect and preserve these historical sites so future generations can learn from them. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to advance this important legislation.”
“Nearly 70 years ago, 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a walkout with all 450 of her fellow Black classmates at the Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, to protest school segregation. Ms. Johns’ student-led demonstration spearheaded one of the five cases that would head to the Supreme Court under the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit,” said Sen. Warner. “As we honor Barbara Johns’ legacy in the halls of Congress with her statue, I’m pleased to join in this effort to commemorate the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site and recognize the vital role played by the Moton School in Farmville in ending school segregation.”
“Those involved in the five cases that formed Brown v. Board of Education altered the future of countless Americans, leading the way for contemporary Civil Rights activism,” said Sen. Tim Scott. “I am so proud to participate in bipartisan legislation that commemorates the struggle for education equality, particularly as the bill includes two locations significant to the Briggs v. Elliot case in Summerton, South Carolina. Our bill will ensure that the history behind the Brown decision will not be forgotten.”
“The landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, that put an end to the inherently unequal ‘separate but equal’ doctrine, stands as one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions, and in fact, a number of Delawareans played a critical role in this historic case. That’s why this Black History Month, I’m proud to be joining my colleagues in introducing a bill that would allow us to preserve and share Delaware’s contributions to ending school segregation so we never forget our nation's fight for justice,” said Sen. Carper. “The Hockessin Colored School, Claymont Community Center and Howard High School are not just buildings; they are community centers, places of learning and gathering spaces that are still used today to help our communities make social progress and their histories should be shared with generations to come. I believe by remembering our nation’s long fight for equality, we can truly understand just how far we have come and why it is ever more important to continue to keep pushing to build a ‘more perfect Union’ for all Americans.”
“Brown v. Board of Education was a watershed moment in America’s fight for equality. This Black History Month, I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort to honor the historic sites connected to the case,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m especially proud this effort includes the Moton Museum, former home of the Moton School, where 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a protest over the intolerable conditions for Black students in Farmville, Virginia. It’s critical we protect these sites so that future generations can better understand and appreciate all those who worked to propel our nation towards our founding principal of equality for all.”
“Passage of this legislation will help us tell the full story of Brown v. Board of Education by elevating and protecting these powerful historic places and the inspiring stories of people who have not previously had their story told on a national stage,” said Katherine Malone-France, the Chief Preservation Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka transformed the United States, striking down the separate-but-equal doctrine established by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The Plessy decision was the linchpin that condoned legalized segregation across the South, despite protections clearly stated in the U.S. Constitution and underscored by the 14th and 15th Amendments.
These laws stayed in place for nearly 100 years after Reconstruction, until the Brown decision ended the practice of legalized segregation in educational facilities and was a major catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.
The history of Brown v. Board of Education is represented by Monroe School, which is a National Historic Site located in Topeka, Kansas. However, there were a number of communities across the country that contributed to the Brown decision including Claymont, Delaware, Hockessin, Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware, Summerton, South Carolina, Farmville, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The geographic dispersion of these locations demonstrates that Brown v. Board of Education is truly a story of a national struggle with national significance.
The creation of NPS Affiliated Areas in Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia for sites associated with the Brown v. Board of Education case and an expansion of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to include the related sites in South Carolina provides an opportunity for these sites to tell their own under-recognized stories of students and parents who helped shape American society.
This bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).