The word Brown is a symbol that has motivated countless people in their struggles for freedom. For many it has meant the first skirmishes that would eventually leads millions of Americans out of slavery to freedom. But for many others, Brown means the final legal brawl that set in motion a chain of events that ended Jim Crow.
On behalf of the National Park Service and the staff of Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Brown to Brown, Topeka’s civil rights story. Over the next hour you can travel to 16 different historical sites, each one another slice of the Brown to Brown story.
When radical abolitionist John Brown arrived in Kansas in 1855, Topeka was wrought with angst as to whether Kansas would enter the Union as a slave or free state. With stops on the Underground Railroad, Topeka was a refuge for many enslaved people on their path to freedom. Though a haven for freedom for some, Topeka would also see the rise of colored schools and other segregated institutions. Today you will see where those very first institutions actually fell, opening the way for an end to segregated education.
So take your time, use the Brown to Brown guide, and explore the town that changed America and the world. Using your map, look for your location and enter the number associated with your site.