Topeka, Kans.: An Elusive Dream in the Promised Land

In the springtime of 1954, when news of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board ruling rippled out like an earthquake, one of those who felt the world shifting was Robert McFrazier. Then a 10-year-old student in an all-black school in Muskogee, Okla., 250 miles away from Topeka, whose school board was the name defendant in the case, McFrazier still recalls the hopefulness of that day: "When the principal announced the decision, a spontaneous roaring cheer came up. We were caught up in the excitement of thinking that things were going to be better, that we were going to have a shot...

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