A Classroom Frozen in Time

A new exhibit was unveiled at the Brown V. Board National Historic site earlier today.

Dignitaries including the governor attended the dedication.

Kansas First News reporter Vanessa Martinas joins us live in the studio.

She tells us visitors can now tour a refurbished kindergarten classroom as part of the historic experience.

The reveal of the new classroom shows just how far the country has come since 1954.

“Back then it was mostly for socialization,” Dolezal said.

A chalk board, a record player and wooden desks…it’s how a classroom would have looked like at the time.

Beverly Dolezal is a retired kindergarten teacher.

She started teaching in 1959 and says at that time a desegregated classroom just felt right.

“We didn’t really think anything about it, it was just everybody was there and you know we were just all friends,” Dolezal said.

Friday’s event at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic site highlighted the important role Topeka played in the fight to desegregate schools.

Governor Sam Brownback and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins each spoke about their educational experiences.

Morgan Mitchiner was one of the student speakers.

She says she’s an example of how much things have changed since the ruling of the court case.

“I walk up and down the hall, I see people but I don’t really ever look at they’re skin color, I’m more worried about like my grades,” Michiner said.

Jenkins also delivered a letter to the historic site signed by more than 170 U.S. House Representatives commemorating the ruling.

Signatures include members of the Kansas House Delegation, as well as house speaker John Boehner and house majority leader Eric Cantor.

Mitchiner says she’s thankful to be surrounded by people from different cultures.

“We’re all just like one big happy family, we don’t, my friends are all different colors all different sizes all different shapes and I love all of them,” Mitchiner said.

The site was a former all black school where 2 of the plaintiffs daughters were students.

The park historian and staff worked closely with teachers and state archivists to design the room.

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