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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Topeka in Shawnee County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Pillars of the Community

 
 
Pillars of the Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., February 15, 2015
1. Pillars of the Community Marker
Inscription.

Alongside the church, the schools were anchors of African American life in Topeka. With the rise of an all-black teaching force in the city's black schools in the 1880s, teachers formed the backbone of the black middle class. They believed that education would liberate their race from ignorance, degradation, and poverty.

Although local teachers saw their profession as a calling, they were divided about school integration. Integration could mean the closure of black schools and the loss of black teachers' jobs. Not surprisingly, not one black Topeka teacher signed on as a plaintiff in the case.

We would not be in favor of changing our present set-up [of segregated elementary schools] without more evidence that our children would do as well and be as happy as they are now.
- Topeka Council of Colored Parents and Teachers, April 23, 1948

[Background photo caption reads]
1949 photo of Topeka's African American teachers taken in the kindergarten classroom here at Monroe School.
 
Erected 2014 by National Park Service.
 
Location. 39° 2.288′ N, 95° 40.568′ W. Marker is in Topeka, Kansas, in Shawnee County. Marker is on SE Monroe Street south of SE 15th Street, on the left when

Inset Photo on Pillars of the Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1949
2. Inset Photo on Pillars of the Community Marker
[Caption reads] Myrtle S. Starne with her 4th and 5th grade students at Monroe Elementary in 1949.
traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka KS 66612, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Standing Up for Their Rights (here, next to this marker); A Playground and Community Center (a few steps from this marker); Monroe School (within shouting distance of this marker); How to Heat and Cool an Old School (within shouting distance of this marker); Monroe School Neighborhood (within shouting distance of this marker); A Turning Point for Equality (within shouting distance of this marker); A "Separate But Equal" School? (within shouting distance of this marker); G.A.R. Memorial Building (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Topeka.
 
Also see . . .
1. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. (Submitted on March 8, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. History of Brown v. Board of Education. (Submitted on March 8, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Topeka African American Directories at Kansas Historical Society. (Submitted on March 8, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. African American Topeka. (Submitted on March 8, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsEducation
 
Pillars of the Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., February 15, 2015
3. Pillars of the Community Marker
Copper dome of Capitol can be seen in left center distance
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 8, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 159 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 12, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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