KANSAS AND OKLAHOMA HOME TO MAJOR CIVIL RIGHTS SITES
Although Kansas and Oklahoma may geographically seem far removed from the struggle for Civil Rights, they are home to major Civil Rights sites – Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, was featured in the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling that ended racial segregation in America’s public schools; and Reconciliation Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was dedicated in 2010 to the victims of the May 31-June 1, 1921, Tulsa Race Riots.
The Topeka school’s free, interactive museum, now part of the National Park System, tells the story of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case in which 13 African-American parents fought successfully for their children to attend the all-white school closest to their homes.
Tulsa’s Greenwood District, once known as the ‘Black Wall Street’, is where more than 800 people were injured, at least 39 fatally, and 35 blocks were destroyed in one of the country’s worst incidents of racial violence.
Other relevant pre- and post-Civil War sites are the John Brown Museum, in Osawatomie, Kansas, dedicated to its famous namesake firebrand abolitionist; the Seminole Nation Museum in Wewoka, Oklahoma, which tells the story of the black slaves who accompanied Native Americans on the 1830s-50s ‘Trail of Tears’ forced removal from their homeland; the Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, the oldest and only remaining western community established by African-Americans after the Civil War; and, in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the Standing Bear Museum and majestic bronze statue of Chief Standing Bear who, in April 1879, won a major Civil Rights case establishing that Native Americans have equal human rights to white Americans.
For further information about Kansas and Oklahoma, visit www.travelksok.co.uk, 01292 313969.