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Sumner Elementary School

    Most notable as the school that denied Linda Brown admittance because she was black, Sumner School was admitted to the National Register on May 4, 1987 because of its significance to the court case that led to the abolishing of racial segregation in the United States. In that case, unequivocally known as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the decision was that segregation was a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution and was therefore unconstitutional. This effectively denied the legal basis for segregation in 21 states with segregated schools and started a revolution in the legal status of African-Americans. For a more intensive account of the case please visit here.
    The current Sumner School is the 4th such building at 4th & Western to carry the name. There is difference as to the first structures inception, however, it is believed to be in the late 1880s. What is known is that this building burned down in 1888. Initially, Sumner was a school built for black children, but in 1885 it was turned over to be used for white children. In 1935 the current structure was built; the architect was Thomas W. Williamson, who is best noted for his design of the Topeka High School and the First National Bank of Topeka. The school was shut down in 1996 and stayed abandoned until it was purchased in 2002 by the City of Topeka with the hopes of refurbishing it. However, because of low funds, the city decided to place it on auction in 2009.