67th anniversary: Honoring Topeka’s connections to the Brown v. Board decision


TOPEKA (KTMJ) — This year marks the 67th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision — a case with deep roots in Topeka.

The Brown v. Board Sumner Legacy Trust is working to ensure the case’s legacy.

Karen Hiller, Topeka city councilwoman, and Marty Patterson are members of the Brown v. Board Sumner Legacy Trust.

The group was formed to help tell the story of Brown v. Board as well as advance the vision of Brown v. Board.

“This weekend we’re hoping to have a teachable moment about the Brown, because the Topeka story has never been told… We have monuments. We have pictures. But no story. So we want to continue that narrative that we started in the 65th anniversary,” Patterson said. “So to tell the story of how Topeka was able to unify Blacks, Hispanics and whites together to make an integrated school system.”

The group made a set of cards for the 65th anniversary that also help tell the story through the people who lived it, including McKinley Burnett, the architect of the Topeka case, and Katherine Carper Sawyer, the only student to testify for Topeka. Patterson said one of the reasons Thurgood Marshall chose Topeka was because of her testimony.

The anniversary celebration is Saturday, May 29 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Evergy Plaza in Topeka.

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