United States Dictrict Court District of Kansas

Oliver Brown

Direct examination by Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: You may state your name to the Court, please.

A: Oliver Leon Brown

Q: And where do you live, Mr. Brown?

A: 511 West Fifth Street

Q: Are you a citizen of the United States?

A: I am.

Q: And you are a plaintiff in this lawsuit?

A: I am.

Judge Huxman: Talk a little louder, Mr. Brown.

Judge Mellott: He didn’t answer yet.

The Witness: Yes.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: What is your business or occupation?

A: Carman welder.

Mr. Bledsoe: Speak a little louder.

The Witness: A carman welder.

Judge Huxman: Mr. Brown, it’s difficult to hear you. I wish you would make an effort to speak so we can hear you distinctly; we want to hear what you have to say.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: Are you married?

A: Yes.

Q: And, if so, who constitutes the members of your family?

A: I do.

Q: What I mean by that, who constitute the members of your family?

A: I have a wife and three children.

Q: What are the ages of your children?

A: My oldest daughter is eight years old; I one four and another one five months.

Q: What is the name of your daughter, oldest daughter?

A: Linda Carol Brown.

Q: In what school district or territory do you live, Mr. Brown?

A: I live in the Sumner District.

Q: Sumner School District.

A: Yes.

Mr. Bledsoe: For the purpose of the record, if the Court please, let it be shown that the witness resides in the Sumner School district. I think it’s this district here (indicating on exhibit) - that is colored red.

Judge Mellott: Well, I am afraid your testimony standing alone isn’t too intelligent; it isn’t to me. Now, as I understand it, Topeka is one school district, you agreed at pre-trial, but you said there were certain territories.

Mr. Bledsoe: Well, may I substitute territory for - if I may - territory for district.

Judge Huxman: Wouldn’t it be more helpful to the Court if you just had these witnesses locate their residence with reference to the colored school that they attend, rather than having it defined by the various territories. That is the important factor, how far they are from school.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: Now, Mr. Brown, where do you live with reference to the Monroe School?

A: Well, - I stated that I lived at 511 West First Street which is 15 blocks, approximately, from Monroe School.

Mr. Goodell: I didn’t get that.

Judge Mellott: Fifteen blocks from Monroe school.

The Witness: Twenty-one blocks, pardon me; approximately twenty-one blocks.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: You are talking about now the way your daughter has to travel to go to Monroe School, is that correct?

A: That is true.

Q: Does your daughter ride the school bus?

A: Yes.

Q: All right. Now, Mr. Brown, what time does your daughter leave home in the morning to walk to First and Quincy, the bus pick-up point, to go to school; what time does she leave home?

A: She leaves at twenty minutes ‘till eight o’clock.

Q: Twenty minutes of eight.

A: Every school morning.

Q: What time, or thereabouts, does she board the bus at First and Quincy?

A: Well, she is supposed to be there at eight o’clock and which she has been, in many instances, but many times she has had to wait through the cold, the rain and the snow until the bus got there, not knowing definitely what time it gets there all the time.

A: All right. Now, Mr. Brown, she boards the bus about eight o’clock. What time does she arrive at the school?

A: She’s supposed to arrive at the school around 8:20.

Q: Eight thirty. As I understand it, what time do classes begin at school?

A: Nine o’clock.

Q: What does your daughter do between the time the bus arrives at school at 8:30 and 9:00 o’clock?

A: Well, there is sometimes she has to wait outside the school until someone came to let them in, through the winter season and likewise, many times.

Q: What else does she do, if anything?

A: Well, there is nothing she can do except stand out and clap her hands to keep them warm, or jump up and down. They have no provisions at all to shelter them.

Q: And what you want the court to understand is that your daughter is conveyed to the school, she gets there by 8:30 in the morning, and that she has nothing to do until school starts at 9:00 o’clock, is that right?

A: That is correct.

Q: Now, Mr. Brown, you don’t - withdraw that please, what provisions are made by the school board for your daughter to have a warm lunch, if any?

A: There are no provisions made at all.

Judge Huxman: Mr. Bledsoe, hasn’t it been agreed and testified to by Dr. McFarland that no provision is made for warm lunches.

Mr. Bledsoe: I beg your pardon; I believe you are correct, if the Court please.

Judge Huxman: That stands admitted, doesn’t it?

Mr. Bledsoe: That’s right; that is all right. Let me withdraw that, please.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: Now then, your child - you don’t get to see your child during the daytime until she returns home in the evening, is that right?

A: That is correct, sir.

Q: Would you, Mr. Brown, would you like to have your daughter home, have the same opportunity of giving her parental guidance as the white fathers and mothers might do their child?

A: Yes, sir.

Mr. Goodell: We object to the form of that question as assuming a state of facts not in evidence and, in fact, contrary to some of the admitted stipulation of facts.

Judge Huxman: The objection will be sustained.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: But you do not see your daughter from the time she leaves in the morning until she returns home in the evening, is that correct?

A: I do not.

Q: What time is that?

A: She gets home around fifteen minutes to five.

Q: Fifteen minutes to five. Do you know whether or not there is any provisions made to shelter or protect your daughter while she is standing on the street or the designated bus pick-up --

Judge Huxman: Mr. Bledsoe, that has been testified to, and I think it’s conceded no shelter is provided in any of these points where colored children are picked up, is that not so, Mr. Goodell?

Mr. Goodell: That’s right.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: now, Mr. Brown, what is the condition of the area there between your residence and First and Quincy where your daughter boards the bus?

A: Well, there are a considerable amount of railroad tracks there; they do a vast amount of switching from the Rock Island Yards and from the time she leaves home until she gets to Quincy, First and Quincy, to board the bus, she has to pass all of those switch tracks and she - also including the main thorough-fare, Kansas Avenue and First; there is a vast amount of traffic there morning and evening when she goes and returns. There is no provisions at all made for safety precautions to protect those children passing these thorough-fares at all.

Q: Now, Mr. Brown, if your daughter were permitted to attend Sumner School, would there be any such obstructions or any such conditions as she will meet on her way to First and Quincy.

A: Not hardly as I know of.

Q; How far is your residence to Sumner School?

A: Seven blocks.

Q: Seven blocks. Mr. Brown, are you assessed a tax for the support and maintenance of the public schools of the City of Topeka?

A: I am.

Mr. Goodell: We object, if the Court please; it’s wholly outside the scope ---

Judge Huxman: He may answer.

The Witness: I am, sir.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: Mr. Brown, do you consider it an advantage to have a school in the neighborhood in which you live near your home? Do you consider that an advantage?

Mr. Goodell: We object to that as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial what her considers.

Judge Huxman: Objection sustained.

Mr. Bledsoe: If the Court please, I believe that really is part of our case.

Mr. Goodell: If the Court please, every parent would like to have a school next door, but that is impossible.

Judge Huxman: I think it flows naturally it’s an advantage to live closer to a school than to have one far away. I don’t think we need to spend much time establishing that fact. I think the Court will take judicial knowledge of the fact that if it had children of school age it would rather have them go to a close school than one far away.

By Mr. Bledsoe:

Q: Mr. Brown, is there a more direct route from your residence, 511 West First Street, to the bus pick-up point at First and Quincy; is there a more direct route than there?

A: Thank just my family, do you mean?

Q: No, for your daughter going down to the bus pick-up point, is there a more direct route for her to travel?

A: No, there isn’t

Q: There is not.

Judge Huxman: Any questions?

Cross Examination by Mr. Goodell:

Q: Mr. Brown, you see that map there, Defendant’s Exhibit “A”?

A: I do.

Q: Do you understand that the portions colored there from the school territory for the whole city of Topeka?

A: I do.

Q: And, directing your attention to the corner here or all the area in blue, you understand that is the territory outside of the city limits of Topeka, but in Topeka for school purposes alone?

A: I understand.

Q: What?
A: I understand that.

Q: You say your child goes four blocks to the bus pick-up point?

A: She goes six blocks to the pick-up point.

Q: Six blocks, pardon me. Don’t you know as a matter of fact that in many, many instances there are children that go to white schools in this town that go thirty and thirty-five blocks and walk to get there.

Mr. Carter: I object to that.

The Witness: Where at?

Mr. Carter: I see no materiality to this question.

Judge Huxman: Objection will be sustained. That is not a proper cross-examination of this witness.

Mr. Goodell: No further questions.

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