It’s odd that anyone from Topeka, Kan. would balk at having Michelle Obama speak at a high-school graduation. It was Topeka, after all, that was at the center of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that was supposed to integrate America’s schools.
Yet here we are, on the cusp of the 60th anniversary of the ban on legal school segregation, and the nation’s first African American first lady is facing pushback from parents in Topeka.
They say she’s taking the focus off their children; that her speech, which would be tied to the anniversary of the case, should be delivered in another venue.
Here’s what I say
Michelle Obama, who has spent the last six years focused on children’s health and education, is the perfect speaker.
This is especially true as we look back at Brown v. Board of Education, and face the sobering fact that schools today are largely segregated. Not only in the South, but also right here in Philadelphia.
In the early 1970s — some 20 years after the Supreme Court said, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” — our city was a hotbed of school segregation.
Read more on Jones’ website.