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MAJORITY WHIP CLYBURN APPLAUDS FINAL PASSAGE OF THE BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE EXPANSION ACT

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April 26, 2022
Tue, 04/26/2022 - 6:39pm -- nsaunders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn applauded the House unanimous passage today of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Expansion Act.  The legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate on April 6. It now goes to President Biden for his signature. 

The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Expansion Act modifies legislation enacted in 1992 that established a National Parks Service site at the Monroe School building in Topeka, Kansas to mark the landmark Supreme Court decision that desegregated public schools.  This law will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to include locations in the three other states and Washington, DC to recognize all five cases that were combined as Brown v. Board of Education.  

With the enactment of this legislation, the National Parks Service will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to include historic sites in South Carolina and designate National Park Service (NPS) Affiliated Areas in other states. The additional sites are:

  • Summerton School and Scott’s Branch Schools in Summerton, South Carolina to represent Briggs v. Elliott,
  • Hockessin Colored School #107 and Howard High School in Wilmington, Delaware to represent Belton v. Gebhart,
  • The former Robert Russa Moton School, now a museum, in Farmville, Virginia to represent Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, and
  • The John Phillip Sousa Junior High School in the District of Columbia to represent Boiling v. Sharpe

The legislation was crafted in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In the Senate, the bill was originally sponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS). Whip Clyburn was the lead sponsor in the House, and the original co-sponsors were Congresswomen Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Bob Good (R-VA).

“The integration of our nation’s public school system was a critical step toward making America’s greatness accessible to all of her citizens,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. Brown v. Board of Education and its companion cases undeniably chartered a course forward, creating educational equity in communities across the country. I am proud to join Senator Coons in leading this legislation to expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas, to include other historic sites that played a critical role in catalyzing the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision. Summerton High School and former Scott’s Branch High School in my home state, are historic sites connected to the Briggs v. Elliott case that will continue to tell the story of struggle and perseverance for years to come.”

“South Carolina played a prominent role in one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions in the history of our nation,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “It is important we protect and preserve these historical sites so future generations can learn from them. I appreciate my Senate colleagues working to advance this important legislation as well as the leadership of Congressman Clyburn on this issue in the House.”

“The Brown v. Board of Education case changed the course of history, but it didn't happen overnight. It was the work of many individuals and court cases — including the Briggs v. Elliott case in Summerton, South Carolina — that made this landmark decision possible,” said Senator Tim Scott. “I'm proud to have supported this bipartisan effort to protect historic sites and ensure the full story behind Brown v. Board is heard and remembered for generations to come.”

“I grew up just a few hundred yards away from where the Hockessin Colored School #107 stands – one of the segregated schools that played a role in the Brown v. Board of Education case – but I did not learn until law school that two cases successfully challenging Delaware’s segregated school system eventually made their way to the Supreme Court and became part of the Brown decision,” said Senator Coons. “We must ensure that future generations learn this history, and the best way to do that is by improving and expanding the community spaces that document and share these stories. I’m glad that the House has passed our legislation to create these new National Park Service designations, and I look forward to seeing the President sign this bill into law to commemorate our home state’s work to correct the painful injustice of school segregation.”

“With the passage of the Brown v. Board National Historic Site Expansion Act to designate all of the sites associated with this monumental Supreme Court case, history is not just memorialized but also made whole,” said Paul Edmondson, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “At the National Trust, we have been diligently working to reveal and amplify a more complete view of our national history and we’re pleased to have partnered with Senator Coons and Congressman Clyburn in this important work. The heroism of the communities, parents and schoolchildren who dared to demand equal access to education can now be properly celebrated through these historic places.”

See what supporters had to say about this legislation here.

See bill text here.

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