TOPEKA (KSNT) – President Joe Biden has signed a bill which will expand and redesignate the Brown v. Board of Education national historic park.
Biden signed a bill Thursday redesignating the site as a park, which will also include two additional schools in Summerton, SC, that were critical to the desegregation movement. Biden was joined by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland for Thursday’s signing of the Brown v. Board of Education Historical Park Expansion and Redesignation Act.
The national park service director said the change will provide a more complete story of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in public schools in 1954. The schools in South Carolina, Summerton High School and Scott’s Branch High School, will be added to the historical park upon acquisition by the National Park Service. The NPS will begin efforts to acquire the historical sites from willing sellers.
“It is our solemn responsibility as caretakers of America’s national treasures to tell the whole, and sometimes difficult, story of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Including these important sites will broaden public understanding of the events that led to the 1954 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown et. al v. Board of Education.”
Plaintiffs for cases that challenged racial segregation in public schools add up to over 200 from across the U.S. and came from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina and Kansas.
“The Brown v. Board decision didn’t stem from a single case,” the Department of Interior said. “It was a ruling for a bundling of cases that all challenged racial segregation in public schools.”
Additionally, as part of Thursday’s bill signings, five additional schools will become affiliated areas. They will not be managed by the park service, but eligible for technical and financial assistance and be required to be managed in accordance with laws generally applicable to sites in the National Park System.
The authorized additions to the park are:
- Summerton High School (Summerton, SC)
- Scott’s Branch High School (Summerton, SC)
The newly authorized affiliated areas include:
- Robert Russa Moton School (Farmville, VA)
- Howard High School (Wilmington, DE)
- Claymont High School (Claymont, DE)
- Hockessin Colored School #107 (Hockessin, DE)
- John Philip Sousa Junior High School (Washington, D.C.)