Political
KUTV.com | Stories - 60 Years After Brown v. Board, Michelle Obama Tells Topeka Students That are its 'Legacy'
Monday, May 19 2014, 08:09 AM MDT
60 Years After Brown v. Board, Michelle Obama Tells Topeka Students That are its 'Legacy'
(CNN) Sixty years after the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education challenged segregation in Topeka, Kansas, and changed the makeup of American classrooms forever, first lady Michelle Obama looked out at a crowd of Topeka's soon-to-be high school graduates and saw its "living, breathing legacy."

In 1954, Oliver Brown, an African-American welder and assistant pastor, brought the case against the Topeka Board of Education for not allowing his 9-year-old daughter, Linda, to attend Sumner Elementary School, an all-white school near the family's home. Friday night in Topeka, the nation's first African-American first lady looked out at the diverse faces of soon-to-be graduates and said they reminded her of her own daughters.

"Graduates, it is clear that some of the most important parts of your education have come not just from your classes but from your classmates," said Obama."Ultimately, that was the hope and dream of Brown," Obama said, speaking at a "Senior Appreciation Day" event attended by students, families and faculty of area schools.

The speech followed the all-too-familiar script of commencement speeches - with the first lady making appropriate pop culture references that received wild applause.

She praised the diversity many of the students saw in media today, from ethnic diversity in TV shows like the "The Walking Dead," to the NFL recently drafting openly-gay football player Michael Sam.

However, Obama also highlighted the areas where she sees diversity lacking, "Many districts in this country have actually pulled back on efforts to integrate their schools and many communities have become less diverse as folks have moved from cities to suburbs."

"Many young people in America are going to school largely with kids who look just like them," Obama said. "Too often, those schools aren't equal, especially ones attended by students of color, which too often lag behind, with crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers."

Obama called on the students to speak up -- in their classrooms and with their families, as well as in the future as they attend college, start jobs and begin families. She challenged them to never shy away from discussing prejudice.

"We need your generation to help us break through -- we need all of you to ask the hard questions and have the honest conversations because that is the only way we will heal the wounds of the past and move forward to a better future."

She warned that this is not easy, "There will be times when you'll get frustrated or discouraged," Obama said. "But whenever I start to feel that way, I just take a step back and remind myself of all the progress I've seen in my short lifetime."

Michelle Obama spoke of triumph over the "painful history" of segregation and finding inspiration in those close by - for the first lady that meant she didn't have to look far.

She reflected on her own family's past: a mother who grew up in Chicago's segregated schools and ancestors who were slaves.

She told her husband's story and that of his grandparents, a white couple that lived in a segregated Kansas.

"Good, honest people who helped raise their biracial grandson, ignoring those who would criticize that child's very existence. And then I think about how that child grew up to be the President of the United States."

"Every day," Obama said, "You have that same power to choose our better history -- by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right."

By Cassie Spodak

The-CNN-Wire

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.60 Years After Brown v. Board, Michelle Obama Tells Topeka Students That are its 'Legacy'

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here


More Political Stories

GOP voters in Ga. to decide Senate nominee
Bill Clinton won't 'jump the gun' on wife's plans
GOP seeks jolt to Senate race against Dem Franken
Obama to discuss immigration crisis with Central American leaders
More Clinton documents released
Jeb Bush, Rubio lay low on border crisis
Child migrant surge shifts politics of immigration
Liberals swoon for Warren, point to Clinton in '16
White House party crasher fails to make ballot
Immigrants or refugees? A difference with political consequences
Christie: N.J. may consider housing kids from southern border influx
Netroots Nation's to-do list: Get Democrats to polls in November
Man breaks into Kennedy compound, 'looking for Katy Perry'
Poll: Immigration tops list of most important issues
Rubio to court South Carolina conservatives
Senate Democrats to back House highway bill
House Democrats' campaign arm has $51M banked
House GOP prepares response to border crisis
Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors
House votes to extend moratorium on Internet taxes
With deadline looming, Obama to again push infrastructure
Republicans to sue Obama over health law
Texas immigrant flood will worsen, officials warn
Kerry in Afghanistan to talk over election outcome, fraud claims
Texas governor lashes out at Obama over immigration crisis
Chris Christie: The $60 million man
Secret Service starts K-9 patrols near White House
Biden to speak at liberal Netroots Nation
Obama heads to Texas to address 'urgent humanitarian situation'
Christie returning to key primary state
Obama edges into tight Colorado Senate race
US students in middle of pack on financial knowhow
Udall cancels appearance at fundraiser with Obama
Obama is offered legal weed during his night out in Denver
Cleveland to hold 2016 Republican convention
Obama seeks $3.7 billion for immigration emergency
Sen. Menendez suggests Cuban smear, says U.S. should investigate
U.S. attorney general urges new laws to prevent terror from returning fighters
Poll: Most still align with Dems or GOP
John McCain's favorite Democrat?
Border-state Democrat: Obama 'one step behind' on immigration
Obama coming to Colorado for Udall fundraiser
Obama highlights push for better skilled teachers
Supreme Court women lash out at birth control decision
July 4 White House ceremony: Military members become citizens
Hillary Clinton: Snowden has right to public defense
Romney insists he won't be a candidate in 2016
College presidents say no to unions for athletes
Who is the worst president since WWII ?
It pays to work for the White House
Politics brings Romney back to New Hampshire
Hobby Lobby ruling much more than abortion
5 things Obama can and can't do on immigration
Michelle Howard becomes Navy's first female four-star admiral
Crossroads books $20M in TV ads for 6 Senate races
Justices to take up pregnancy discrimination case
McDaniel not giving up GOP runoff against Cochran
Rick Perry's busy summer schedule
Christie gives no opinion on Hobby Lobby case
Monica Lewinsky: 'I was a virgin to humiliation of that level'
Advertise with us!

Washington Times

Washington TimesThe Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.

Click Here for more!


 

Pay It Forward
Fresh Living
Family Matters
Road Trippin
Hooked On Utah

Advertise with us!