Prelude to Brown - 1949: Webb v. District No. 90

1949: Webb v School District No. 90, South Park Johnson County

Population growth after World War II prompted construction of a new $90,000. South Park Elementary school near Merriam, Kansas. The district school board unlawfully established Walker School for African American children. The School was inferior compared to other schools, outdated, and dilapidated. The African American children were denied admittance to South Park School solely on the basis of race and color. When their children were turned away from the new South Park School, Webb and other parents took thirty-nine children out of the poorly maintained, ninety-year-old Walker school, hired Walker teacher Corinthian Nutter and opened a home school. Willingly risking further employment in the public schools, Nutter taught these children for over a year.

African American parents found a staunch ally in Esther Brown who supported and assisted them in their case. Through her urging, attorney Elijah Scott took the lead in bringing about the Webb case. After the Kansas Supreme Court in 1949 ruled that equal facilities must be provided for all children, the board admitted black children to south Park School. The issue of segregation per se was not part of the ruling as facilities were so clearly unequal.

Read the Webb opinion.

View a scanned copy of the Webb opinion.