Prelude to Brown - 1941: Graham v. Topeka

1941: Graham v. The Board of Education of Topeka

The Graham case focused on the issue of whether seventh grade was part of high school. White children attended six grades in elementary schools then three years in junior high schools. Black pupils continued to attend elementary schools for seventh and eight grades, then transferred to Boswell or Roosevelt Junior High for ninth grade. Tinkham Veale and William M. Bradshaw, representing Ulysses Graham's parent, argued that the junior high schools were part of high school and that by not providing similar education for blacks these children were denied rights under the U.S. and Kansas constitutions. The Kansas Supreme Court found that the refusal to permit twelve-year-old Ulysses Graham to enroll in a junior high school was "discriminatory."

Read the Graham opinion.

View a scanned copy of the Graham opinion.