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StoryCorps Voices from Topeka - 60 Years After Brown v. Board of Education

The first grade class at State Street Elementary School, taught by Miss Hunt. It was taken in January 1955, shortly after Topeka elementary schools were racially integrated in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Prior to this decision, which made segregated schools unconstitutional, State Street had been a school for white children only. (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society / kansasmemory.org)

In May 2014, StoryCorps Facilitators found themselves in Topeka, Kan., working with The Kansas Humanities Council for the 60th Anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case, whose decision was released on May 17, 1954.

The trip was part of the other many town-wide celebrations for the occasion, including a high school graduation ceremony with a special Baccalaureate speech delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama who also commemorated the anniversary.

Satchmo, KU Basketball and David Basse

Dr. Don Potts (left) discussing his Louis Armstrong interview with KPR's David Basse. (Photo by Joanna Fewins)

Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and his band were on the KU campus for a concert on March 23, 1957. That same night, an hour to the east in Kansas City, Wilt Chamberlain and the Jayhawks were playing for the national title against the North Carolina Tar Heels. In an epic, triple-overtime game, KU lost to Carolina 54-53. A dejected KU team came back to Lawrence at 2:15 in the morning.
Who was there to greet them? Louis Armstrong. A young KU student had a tape recorder and he talked with the famous musician.

President Obama's Remarks at KU

President Barack Obama delivered an address at the University of Kansas on Thursday, January 22, 2015. KPR coverage also contains a photo slideshow of the historic day.

KPR coverage of the event was hosted by News Director J. Schafer. Joining him for analysis were Steve Kraske, host of the KCUR program "Up to Date"...and Dr. Michael Smith, professor of political science at Emporia State University. The on-scene reporters are Stephen Koranda and Elle Moxley.

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