Kansas Schools and Racial Segregation: 1879-1954
Before 1870, Kansas denied African Americans not only the right to vote or serve in the state militia, but also to attend public grade schools unless they were designated for African Americans. In 1879, the Kansas legislature passed a law concerning racially segregated schools that persisted until 1954. It allowed school boards in the state’s first class cities, or those with a population of 10,000 or more, to decide whether to establish separate schools for African American students. However, it prohibited the establishment of racially exclusive schools in all other areas in the state. Yet, in reality, practices of racial segregation in Kansas schools often varied over time and place.