Turning Point in Topeka

By: Brooke Erickson
By: Brooke Erickson

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Two sides got dangerously close in Topeka. Police were ready with riot gear to handle demonstrations over segregation.

It was a turning point in Topeka 50 years ago, the ruling to desegregated schools in the Brown v. Board of Education court case. The president and other leaders will be in Kansas Monday to celebrate that ruling.

But on Saturday, in Topeka, a white nationalists group, which opposes the ruling, demonstrated the celebration.

Dozens of Topeka and local police dressed in riot gear and carrying batons are on stand-by in case the groups get out of hand.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the segregation of schools unconstitutional. That 50-year-old decision still infuriates Alex Linder.

“Our kids need to learn,” says Linder. “They don’t need to be ‘dumbed’ down to the black level.” He says mixing races in the schools doesn’t work.

Steven Bond says he used to be on that side. “I was angry for a long, long time, I really was. I hated for a long time,” says Bond.

Ten years ago, he saw an African American man get attacked. It changed his life. “They were beating him down for no other reason other than he was black,” says Bond.

Authorities say there were about 100 demonstrators. They classify it as pretty peaceful.

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