Prelude to Brown - 1903: Reynolds v. Topeka

1903: Reynolds v. The Board of Education of Topeka

Decisions affecting other larger cities were mixed. William Reynolds lost his 1903 case against the Board of Education of Topeka. All children had attended the same building in the Lowman Hill District until it burned in 1900. The Board purchased a new site and erected a two-story brick building. Black pupils were assigned to the older Douglas building which was moved to the area. Reynolds, a tailor, demanded admission of his eight-year-old son Raoul to the new school. In an extensive review of the laws, the Kansas Supreme Court held for the Board of Education on the basis that first class cities were allowed to operate separate elementary schools. The court also argued that the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution did not supercede Kansas law.

Read the Reynolds opinion.

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