Sumner Grade School, Topeka, pictured between 1950-1969Sumner Grade School was a segregated school for whites only that played a prominent role in the desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. Source: (http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/208673) © All Rights Reserved
The Sumner Elementary School was built in 1936 with the support of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works. It was registered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The school was designed by Kansas architect Thomas W. Williamson, and features Art Deco architectural elements and stone bas reliefs. The two-story brick structure was renovated multiple times since its construction. Many of the structure’s Art Deco original details—such as lighting fixtures and woodwork—still exist.
In the 1950s, the school became an important landmark in the struggle against segregation. Sumner Elementary is the former all-white school in which Linda Brown, the central figure in Brown vs Board of Education, wanted to enroll. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court ended school segregation in the United States.
Kansas Historical Society: (https://www.kshs.org/teachers/professional/pdfs/after_school_desegration_rowley.pdf), accessed March 27, 2018.
Kansas Memory: (http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/208673), accessed March 27, 2018.
National Public Radio, March 26, 2018, Linda Brown, Who Was At Center Of Brown v. Board Of Education, Dies: (https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/26/597154953/linda-brown-who-was-at-center-of-brown-v-board-of-education-dies), accessed March 27, 2018.
National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form, 1991, Sumner Elementary School: (https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/nrhp/text/87001283.PDF), accessed March 27, 2018.
The New York Times, July 20, 2009, Susan Saulny, In Purchase of School, Hopes of Saving a Neglected Monument: (https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/us/20sumner.html), accessed March 27, 2018.
Project originally submitted by Richard Horne on March 27, 2018.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE