Call for Topeka StoryCorps Participants

School Segregation BannedDeadline to participate: April 25, 2014
Contact: Donna Rae Pearson, Local History Librarian at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, (785) 580-4510.

What was your graduation day like? KHC, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, and the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library are seeking Topeka residents for participation in the Brown v. Board StoryCorps national listening project in commemoration of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision. Of particular interest are parents, grandparents, or other relatives of students graduating this May who have stories to share of their school days and graduation day before, during, or after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Spaces are limited. Contact Donna Rae Pearson at (785) 580-4510 by April 25, 2014, for more information on how to participate.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first Brown v. Board of Education ruling declaring public school segregation unconstitutional. This year, May 17 coincides with graduation day in Topeka. As Topeka students prepare to don their caps and gowns, imagine the difference between graduation day this year and the one 60 years ago. The StoryCorps project will capture Topekans’ firsthand experiences and reflections about life in school before and after desegregation.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Interviews will be conducted at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site May 1-3, 2014. The interviews will be archived locally and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Brown v. Board StoryCorps project is a collaboration between Brown v. Board of Education, the Kansas Humanities Council, and the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. The project is made possible with support from the Capitol Federal Foundation, Fairlawn Plaza, Security Benefit, the Greater Topeka Fund of the Topeka Community Foundation, and Westar Energy.

Image: Front page of The Topeka State Journal, May 17, 1954. Image courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.