Locations related to Brown v. Board of Education added to National Park
Brown National Historical Park c. Board of Education expands with the signing of President Joe Biden starting this week. The additional sites will now include schools associated with the five cases that led to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, according to the South Carolina Post aD Mail.
The decision in Brown v. Board of Education made school segregation unconstitutional. A National Park Service statement noted that Brown National Historic Park Expansion and Redesignation Act v. Board of Education adds two school sites in South Carolina to the acquisition by the NPS and schools in Delaware, in Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“Expanding Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park to recognize sites in South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C. helps us tell more fully the story of the fight to end school segregation” , Secretary Deb Haaland said. “The Supreme Court’s finding that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional was undoubtedly a pivotal event in our nation’s civil rights struggle and we are honored to serve as stewards of part of that story.”
Brown v. Board of Education is often associated with the single case against Topeka, Kansas, but the cases were the culmination of multiple cases with more than 200 total plaintiffs in Delaware, DC, Virginia, South Carolina, and Kansas.
“It is our solemn responsibility as custodians of America’s national treasures to tell the full, and sometimes difficult, story of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Chuck Sams, director of the National Park Service. . “The inclusion of these important sites will enhance the public’s understanding of the events leading to the landmark 1954 United States Supreme Court decision in Brown et. al v. Board of Education.
The National Park Service will seek to acquire the sites, many of which are no longer operational as schools today, and several are already designated historic sites. The sites will not be managed by the National Park Service but may benefit from technical and financial assistance for their maintenance.
According to the press release, here are the schools and sites.
- Summerton High School (Summerton, SC). Built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Summerton High School was an all-white school that refused to admit black students, prompting the Briggs vs. Elliott Case.
- Scott’s Branch High School (Summerton, SC). The former “Equalization School” was built for African American students in 1951 under the guise of providing facilities comparable to those of white students. Today, the old school is now the Community Resource Center owned by Clarendon School District 1.
- Robert Russa Moton School (Farmville, Virginia). The all-black school was the site of a student-led strike in 1951 that led to Davis v. Prince Edward County County School Board. The old school is a National Historic Landmark and today serves as the Robert Russa Moton Museum, which is administered by the Moton Museum, Inc. and affiliated with Longwood University.
- Howard High School (Wilmington, DE), Claymont High School (Claymont, DE) and Hockessin Colored School #107 (Hockessin, DE)
- Howard High School, already a National Historic Landmark, was the first high school for African Americans in the state of Delaware and the school at which the plaintiffs in Belton versus Gebhart were forced to travel. Today the school is known as Howard High School of Technology and is administered by the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District.
- Claymont High School denied admission to the plaintiffs in the Belton versus Gebhart Case. Today, the old school is a community center.
- Hockessin Colored School #107 was an all-black school, one of the plaintiffs in Belton versus Gebhart had to show up without public transport. It is now used as a community facility.
- John Philip Sousa High School (Washington, DC). Built in 1950 in the Fort Dupont neighborhood, it was an all-white school where 12 African-American students were denied admission, prompting the Bolling vs. Sharpe Case. Today, the school serves as DC’s public college and was previously designated as a National Historic Landmark.
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