Topeka NAACP and Brown v. Topeka Board of Education

Topeka NAACP and Brown v. Topeka Board of Education

The Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case was initiated and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership who recruited African American parents in Topeka for a class action suit against the local school board. Although school buses were provided for African American children, they were only allowed to attend designated public schools based on race.

Oliver Brown was asked to join the class action suit by Charles Scott, one of three serving as legal counsel for the Topeka NAACP.  The strategy to use the courts to challenge segregation in public education began with the NAACP under the leadership of Attorney Charles Hamilton Houston during the 1930's. Houston was the former Dean of Howard University Law School. Thurgood Marshall was hired into the NAACP by Houston, and worked on Brown v. Topeka Board of Education with a team of attorneys.

Ultimately, the NAACP sought to end the practice of "separate but equal" throughout every segment of society, including public transportation, dining facilities, public schools and all forms of public accomodation.

Brown II and Brown III
The initial court ruling rendered in 1954 that determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional is known as Brown I. The court implementation mandate of "with all deliberate speed" in 1955 is known as Brown II. In 1979, three young African American attorneys in Topeka petitioned the court to reopen the original Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case to examine whether or not the local School Board had in fact ended all vestiges of segregation in public schools. That case is known as Brown III, which resulted in Topeka Public Schools building three magnet schools to comply with the court's findings.

For more information, contact:
Brown Foundation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

P.O. Box 4862
Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785-235-3939
Fax: 785-235-1001