This is the only National Park Service (NPS) site named for a court case. The one named started here in Topeka in 1951 when segregation was the law of the land. Five cases were consolidated when the issue escalated to the Supreme Court by 1954, when they finally overturned the 1896 ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson. In his decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “Separate education facilities are inherently unequal.” In 2022, it was changed from a National Historic Site to a National Historical Park with addition of units at two high schools in Summerton, South Carolina.
Monroe Elementary School, Hall of Courage
Tour the former African-American-only Monroe Elementary School, restored to its 1950s appearance with some classrooms turned into exhibits on the civil rights movement worldwide. If you visit on a weekday, you might hear the halls filled with the sounds of children again, since it is a frequent fieldtrip destination.
Walking the Hall of Courage gives some idea of what it would have been like as an African-American student attending a desegregated school in the 1950s.
Spring seems to be popular for school fieldtrips.
All paved with a designated NPS parking lot. Check the address (1515 SE Monroe St.) for Monroe Elementary School on the NPS website as our GPS sent us to the park headquarters inside Topeka’s main post office.
None at the site, but nearby Lake Shawnee Campground is run by the county.
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