Grand Opening Dedication and 50th Anniversary

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The decision effectively denied the legal basis for segregation in Kansas and 20 other states with segregated classrooms and would forever change race relations in the United States. 


On May 17, 2004, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site had its grand opening celebration on the 50th Anniversary of the Brown decision.  The grand opening of the historic site and the anniversary were commemorated by a large event featuring numerous speakers. 

A 50th Anniversary Commemorative Poster is available for a donation.  For more information, click here.

Below are a list of speakers from the Grand Opening Dedication.


Welcome by Stephen E. Adams
Park Superintendent

Welcome by Fran Mainella
Director, National Park Service
Welcome and remarks by Cheryl Brown Henderson
President, The Brown Foundation
Audience Recognitions by Professor Ronald Griffin
Washburn University School of Law
and Superintendent Adams
Mr. Will Rogers
President, Trust for Public Land
The TPL role in the acquisition of Monroe School
Mr. Robert Stanton
Board Member, African American Experience Fund
How the AAEF supports the National Park Service
Dennis Hayes
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The Honorable James A. McClinton
Mayor of Topeka, Kansas
What Brown v. Board means to Topeka

The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Jim Ryun
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Sam Brownback
United States Senate

Featured speaker -- Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth
Cincinnati, Ohio (formerly of Birmingham, Alabama)

The Honorable Rod Paige
Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Judge Craig Manson
Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
The Honorable Gale Norton
Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Preserving Our Heritage and Cultural Diversity

Mr. Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Supreme Court of the United States

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Governor of Kansas
Keynote Address  

President George W. Bush 

To view a list of other events held from April 28-May 24 in Topeka that commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Brown decision, click here.