United States Dictrict Court District of Kansas
Hugh W. Speer, having been first duly sworn, assumed the stand and testified as follows:
Direct examination by Mr. Greenberg:
Q. Will you please tell the Court your name?
A. Hugh W. Speer.
Q. And what is your occupation?
A. I am chairman of the Department of Education at the University of Kansas City.
Q. Have you ever been in public school work, Mr. Speer?
A. Yes, I was in public school work for Kansas for about twelve years.
Q. You mentioned the Department of Education, University of Kansas City, what is the function of the Department of Education?
A. Our chief function at this time is training elementary school teachers.
Q. Do you train teachers eligible to teach in the state of Kansas?
A. Yes, a number of them do.
Q. How many members are on the teaching staff of your Education Department under your supervision?
A. At the present about twenty.
Q. Do you have any other responsibilities at your university?
A. Well, I am a member of the President’s Advisory Committee; I am chairman of the Curriculum Committee of the university.
Q. Do you regularly come into contact with elementary schools?
A. Yes, we conduct an elementary school of our own. We call it the demonstration school in the summer. We do practice teaching in the public schools in our locality, which means we are in and out of schools constantly.
Q. Would you tell us something of your educational background, Dr. Speer; where did you attend public school?
A. Attended public schools in Olathe, Kansas.
Q. And what universities dis you attend and what degrees do you hold?
A. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from American University in Washington, D.C., a Master’s Degree from George Washington University, and a PhD Degree from the University of Chicago.
Q. What was your major field in your doctorate?
A. Evaluation […]
Q. Dr. Speer, have you made any examination of the elementary schools in Topeka?
A. During the last month.
Q. Why did you make this examination, Dr. Speer?
A. At request of counsel for plaintiffs.
Q. What aspects of the schools did you examine during the examination?
A. We examined the more important aspects that we thought had bearing on the major issues in this case. We have examined the building, the curriculum, the equipment, the library, the preparation and experience of the teaching staff and the salaries, the class loads, the size of classes and a few other minor points.
Q. Now, I am going to ask you some questions about your findings. What did you find concerning the comparison of teachers in the colored schools with those of the white schools?
A. I found minor differences between the two groups, and those differences tend to balance each other. For example, in preparation, all of the colored teachers have Bachelor’s Degree and all but 15% of the white teachers have Bachelor’s Degrees. On the other hand, in terms of Master’s Degrees, 12% of the colored teachers have Master’s Degrees and 15% of the white teachers hold Master’s Degrees. The colored teachers average twenty years of experience, and the white teachers nineteen years.
Q. Dr. Speer, what did you find concerning class size and teaching load; would you explain to the Court what teaching load is?
A. Teaching load is the number of pupils which the teacher has each day and, again, here I found not much difference. There is some difference at the kindergarten level where the colored kindergartens are somewhat smaller. I think the white average is 42; the colored average about 25. But in grades 1 to 6, the average is very close together; 34 in the white schools and 32 in the colored schools. Again, I would say, I found no significant difference in teacher load or teacher preparation.
Q. In examining two sets of schools, negro and white, did you find any provisions for special rooms in any of these?
A. I found provision for two special rooms for white children; I found no provisions for special rooms for any colored children.
Q. Now, did you study all of the school buildings in Topeka, Dr. Speer?
A. Yes, we examined data in the Board of Education files on all school buildings, and we personally visited, Dr. Buchannan and I and some of my other assistants, we visited about two-thirds of the schools in the city.
Judge Hill: If counsel will let me interrupt, what do you mean by special rooms?
Mr. Greenberg: Well, if I may explain, in the white schools there are rooms for specially retarded or handicapped children, whereas in negro schools there are none.
Judge Hill: Very well. […]
By Mr. Greenberg:
Q. Dr. Speer, in making your evaluation, did you take into account the fact that some buildings might have some unused classrooms?
Q. What significance did you ascribe to that fact?
A. Well, an unused
classroom is very limited value to the
school. We assume that most schools operate one class with one teacher,
profitably use one classroom.
A. Yes, we did.
Q. How many schools did you inspect visually?
A. We inspected I think it was fourteen directly […]
Q. In order to save the time of the Court, Dr. Speer, did you make any general observations that seemed to apply to all of the buildings you visited?
A. Yes, I think I can. First of all in regard to gymnasiums and auditoriums, the facilities, all in all, seemed to be about equal between the colored schools and the white schools. Three-fourths of the colored schools have a combined gymnasium-auditorium, and we would say approximately that proportion of the white schools have similar facilities. However, I should add that none of the colored schools have anything like the luxurious facilities we would find in the Oakland building or the State Street building or the Gage Building, for example.
Q. How do the various -
A. Might I, if I may -
Q. Go ahead.
A. - add one or two other general observations to save time. The buildings are all well-kept, well preserved, and I think well maintained. Dr. Buchannan and I felt that was equal throughout the system.
Q. How do the buildings compare as to their ages, Dr. Speer?
A. The ages of the white buildings average twenty-seven years, according to the figures furnished by the board, and the ages of the colored buildings thirty-three years. In other words, the white buildings average six years newer. However, I think we should add another feature here. Inasmuch as newer building tend to be larger, we found this to be the case, that according to last year’s enrollment figures, 45% of the white children attend schools that were newer than the newest colored buildings, whereas 14% of the white children attend schools that were older than the oldest colored building. To state another kind of comparison, 66% or two-thirds, of all white children attend schools that are newer than the average age of the colored buildings.
Q. Dr. Speer, how do the colored schools compare to the white schools in regard to the insured value per available classroom?
A. The average of the white schools is $10,517, and the average for the colored schools is $6,317. Or, stated another way, the insured value per available classroom is 66% higher in the white schools.
Q. Dr. Speer, did you examine the curriculum in the schools in the City of Topeka?
Q. Tell the Court what you mean by “curriculum”, also.
A. By “Curriculum” we mean something more than the course of study. As commonly defined and accepted now, “curriculum” means the total school experience of the child. Now, when it comes to the mere prescription of the course of study, we found no significant difference. But, when it comes to the total school experience of the child, there are some differences. In other words, we consider that education is more than just remembering something. It is concerned with the child’s total development, his personality, his personal and social adjustment. Therefore it becomes the obligation of the school to provide the kind of an environment in which the child can learn knowledge and skills such as the three “Rs” and also social skills and social attitudes and appreciations and interests, and these considerations are all now part of the curriculum.
Q. I see, Dr. Speer. Do you have anything further to say?
A. Yes. And we might add the more heterogeneous the group in which the children participate, the better than can function in our multi-cultural and multi-group society. For example, if the colored children are denied the experience in school of associating with white children, who represent 90% of our national society in which these colored children must live, then the colored child’s curriculum cannot be equal under segregation. […]
By Mr. Greenberg:
Q. Would you tell us what you found concerning Monroe school?
A. Monroe. Colored building is twenty-four years old; it’s valued at $9,760. This is, in our judgment, the best of the colored buildings. It’s well constructed, has tile floors. Again, however, many of the books are too old for good school use. The site is rather small, and the building and the site are not very attractive […]
Q. Would you tell the Court what you found concerning Sumner School.
A. Sumner School is white, aged fifteen years, value $15,936 per room. It’s another excellent building; beautiful auditorium, a large good gymnasium, has its public address system; the books are good; very attractive kindergarten. Again, the facilities are available for an excellent educational opportunity […]
Q. Now, Dr. Speer, you have gone through all the schools in the City of Topeka, and I would like to ask you some hypothetical questions which I would like you to answer on the basis of your study of the schools in the City of Topeka and on the basis of you r knowledge and experience as an educator.
I want you to assume the following set of facts, Dr. Speer; That a negro child who lives in Topeka, where there are racially segregated schools, attends the Buchannan School, although if they were not racially segregation in the City of Topeka, because of where he lives, he would otherwise attend the Randolph School, would you say that on the basis of the evidence you have given above and the other factors I have mentioned, that he obtains the same educational opportunities at Buchannan that he would obtain if he attended Randolph?
Mr. Goodell: To which we object as the hypothetical question assumes a fact not proven, and the fact assumes another fact that is contrary to some evidence. The fact assumes that if a child lived at Randolph and there wasn’t racial segregation he would attend Randolph. It assumes that fact. It isn’t necessarily so. The child, even if you didn’t have segregation, might not prefer to go to some school where he is outnumbered fifty to one. Object to the question in the present form because it assumes a hypothetical fact unsupported by any evidence.
Judge Huxman: You may answer, Doctor.
The witness: The question, as I understand it -
Mr. Greenberg (to reporter): Would you read it back, please?
(The last preceding question was read by the reporter.)
By Mr. Greenberg:
Q. What is your answer to that question, Dr. Speer?
A. No, I would say he would not get the same educational opportunity for some of the following reasons: First of all, the Buchannan building is an older building; it’s thirty years old; Randolph is twenty-for years old. The insured value per classroom for Buchannan is $5,623; for Randolph it’s $6,947. To look at some of the details of the buildings, Buchannan has no combined gymnasium-auditorium; Randolph has one that is not completely adequate but it will hold several grades at one time. The furniture -
Mr. Goodell: Pardon me, I want to impose another objection, that this has no probative force to show denial of equal protection of the law on this sort of comparison because he is now demonstrating that because - that an inequity exists because some physical plants are newer and bigger and better than other physical plants. He is comparing, it’s true, with a colored plant, but he is also in other parts of his testimony - he has shown that the same disparity exists between many white schools as to the newer school where we have very old schools, very low cost per capita per room, classroom, and also the testimony very obviously shows no school system in the world could have buildings equal because newer buildings necessarily incorporate modern facilities not known when they were builttwenty or thirty years ago.
Mr. Greenberg: May I answer that, your honor?
Mr. Goodell: I address that to the Court, not you.
Mr. Greenberg: I didn’t ask you if I could answer it.
Judge Huxman: The witness may answer.
The witness: Proceeding, on the other hand, we might say that the Randolph building has these features, a much more attractive kindergarten room, more spacious playground, much more attractive surroundings which adds to its aesthetic educational value, and I would add, if I may consult my notes for a moment here -
Mr. Greenberg: Go ahead.
The witness: That the books in the Randolph school are better than the books in the Buchannan building, in my judgment. There are better heating and lighting in the Randolph building, and I think I would add, Your Honor, that most important of all the curriculum in the Randolph building provides a much better educational opportunity than the one in the Buchannan building, because, in the Randolph building, the colored child would have opportunity to live with, work with, to cooperate with white children who are representative of approximately 90% of the population of the society in whuch he is to live […]
By Mr. Greenberg:
Q. I would like to ask you the same question concerning a comparison of Sumner and Monroe schools, Dr. Speer.
A. Sumner and Monroe. Again I would say for some of the same kinds of reasons that the Sumner building would provide a better educational opportunity.
Judge Huxman: May I ask the doctor a question?
Mr. Greenberg: Yes.
Judge Huxman: To be sure I understand his answer, is one of the reasons which is common to all three of these, your reason that they are by segregation denied in all three of these schools the opportunity ot mingle and live with the white children, which they would otherwise have and that, to you, is an important factor, is that part of your answer?
The witness: Yes, Your Honor, that would enter all of them.
Judge Huxman: I was quite sure that was it, but I wanted to be clear in my own mind that that was part of your answer in all of these schools […]
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. Dr. Speer, if I understand your testimony correctly, boiled down to - as to the physical facts on the comparison of buildings and facilities feature of it, eliminating the racial feature, is it your opinion that any school, white school, that is considerably older and inferior and a wide disparity as to modern facilities, that that child going to such a white school is likewise being denied an equal opportunity of education?
A. It is unequal in another sense, I would say, if I understand your question correctly. Would you mind repeating the crux of it; I am not sure that I understand you.
Q. What I am trying to say is, eliminating the racial feature and restricting your opinion entirely to comparison of plants, facilities, and accessories, will you still say that a child, a white child, who goes to one of these other schools, such as Lafayette, Quinton Heights, Polk and some of these old schools, and Lowman, are denied equal educational opportunities as against children - as compared to children who live in a territory such as Oakland and Randolph and Potwin and get to go to those new schools.
A. A child might be - might have an inferior educational opportunity in some respects, but he would not have the stigma of segregation, nor be denied the opportunity to mix with the majority group of the population. Also -
Q. I said eliminating that feature of it. Other than that, do you consider that it’s an inferior opportunity as far as the white child is concerned so that he is denied an equal opportunity of education, elimination the racial thing.
A. It might be if all other facilities are equal, but that is an accident of geography.
Q. Well, you made comparisons between some of the best white schools we have here in town to the colored schools, haven’t you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, while we are on the subject, I will ask you to turn to exhibit “K”, which is the Board of Education’s record pertaining to the original cost of these buildings and also in the same connection -
A. I don’t have a copy of that here, sir.
Q. I will step over here and let you see it. What I have marked on my copy here in red are the negro schools; and what I have marked in the blue pencil are the white schools, you understand?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, I will direct you attention, if the schools that were built about the same time, the white schools, as the colored schools, if this exhibit doesn’t show the same - practically - outlay of cost and, in some instances, more money spent for structural, or the school, and land acquisition than there were for white schools that were built at the same period of time.
A. I think that may be possible […]
Q. Do you know of any school system in the United States - not just Topeka - in the United States, that has buildings that are equal, that there isn’t great differences based upon when they were built and the need of the community at the time they were built? That has not - doesn’t have great differences as to their value and commodious quarters and characters that are recognized now in modern education and that are applied in modern buildings, that doesn’t have great disparities, those types of building, in any school system in the United States with buildings built twenty, thirty, or forty years ago.
A. I believe there is very likely to be some disparity, may not be great, and may not be as great as compared this group to that group, but between individual buildings, I am sure you would find some disparity if there is more than one building.
Q. You realize that school buildings are built as a community grows up and population trends - where the town grows and which way it grows determines whether buildings are located and newer buildings are added.
A. That is one factor.
Q. Do you know of any way way on earth to keep those facilities adequate and at the same time equal to any school in the system?
A. There are ways that can be approached.
Q. Well, just tell me how you would approach it. A. By forming a good cooperative city planning with the Board of Education and the City Commissioners on a long-term scale and then following it.
Q. Would you recommend that if we had a building like, say in Topeka, that cost $112,000 and is now a sound and structurally safe colored building, that you would tear that down because we happen to have a new building built a year ago that cost half a million dollars; would you recommend that?
A. Not merely for that reason, no.
Q. What other reasons would you give for tearing it down?
A. If I found that throughout the community the colored children’s buildings were decidedly inferior to the buildings of the white schools, then I would consider that to be an unequal educational opportunity between the groups […]
Q. Maybe I am so stupid I can’t understand you. Did you not say, is it your opinion, that because of physical factors, and I mean physical factors differences in plant facilities, some of the white schools and the four negro schools, that alone, in and of itself, causes you to give an opinion, and it is your opinion that the child, a negro child, because of that alone, doesn’t have equal educational opportunity.
A. That is a contributing factor, but I do not consider that of - that alone.
Q. Then you didn’t say that alone caused him to have an unequal opportunity.
A. No, but coupled with other factors did cause him to have an unequal opportunity.
Q. What are the other factors rather than racial factors?
A. Curriculum factor; there is faculty; there is size of classrooms; there is books […]
Q. What do you mean by total curriculum?
A. I mean the total school experience of the school child, what the instructions, what the books are, what the surroundings of the buildings are, what his associations with the other children are.
Q. Well, eliminating that feature, the associations with other children, which is the racial feature, what are the other part of the curriculum which is any dissimilarity or inferior factors present in the case of the negro schools and the white schools I have used for illustration?
A. In professional circles we have a term called the great “gestalt” which means the sum is greater - the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts and when we start taking into account only the parts one by one, we destroy our “gestalt”, and we cannot make a wise comparison.
Judge Mellott: What was that word?
The witness: (spelling)
Cross-examination by Mr. Goodell:
Q. Now, you come from Missouri, don’t you?
A. I at present live in Missouri, yes, sir.
Q. You have segregated schools there, don’t you?
A. We have some segregated schools. On the university campus we have a mixed school.
Q. I am talking about the public school system in the State of Missouri.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And it is mandatory, isn’t that right?
A. I presume in some cases it is.
Q. Have you studied any of the various state statutes over the country which we have had for a half century concerning this segregation of students?
Mr. Carter: Your Honor, I can’t see how this -
Mr. Goodell: This is the preliminary for another question.
Judge Huxman: I think that is an improper question. Well, as long as it is preliminary, you may answer whether or not you have studied the various statutes.
Mr. Goodell: I will withdraw the question.
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. You know in a great many cities and communities of the United States there are statutes similar to the statutes here in Kansas, which we have had for half a century or three-fourths of a century, isn’t that right?
A. I presume so.
Q. You know, as a practical man, laws get passed by legislators coming from the various parts of their communities over the state, don’t you?
A. Yes, sir.
Judge Huxman: Mr. Goodell, what is the purpose of that question? What value does that have to our problem how laws are passed?
Mr. Goodell: I am getting to that. I can’t ask all of it at once. I am trying to get from this witness the feature as to whether he thinks the elimination of racial segregation, if it’s unwanted by the community and is out of step with the thinking of the community which the mere existence of the laws have some indication -
Judge Huxman: I think Dr. Speer has made it quite clear from his evidence - he has to me at least, if I understand it - that segregation, racial segregation, is the prime and controlling factor of the equality of the whole curriculum, and these physical factors are secondary, and that his testimony, as it registers with me, is that aside from racial segregation he perhaps would not testify that there was any such inequality in the physical properties as would deny anybody and equal educational opportunity. Do I understand your testimony correctly?
The witness: If I may say, Your Honor, I think I would sum it up this way: That there is, in my opinion, some inequality in physical facilities between the groups in Topeka, but, in addition to that, there is also the difference of segregation itself which affects the school curriculum.
Judge Huxman: Let’s see if I can get myself straightened out. Do you not also agree with what Mr. Goodell is trying to bring out here - you haven’t gotten it together - that if you put it on that fact, that there is no inequality in physical facilities as between the white schools and the colored schools, sometimes the greater facilities are with the colored schools .
The witness: Yes, Your Honor, but there are not as many in that direction as there are in the other direction in this case.
Judge Huxman: It seems to me that we are spending a lot of time on that when that is rather, it seems to me, it would be obvious if you have an older white building than a colored building that perhaps the physical facilities in the older white building would be poorer than in the colored building.
The witness: Yes, I will agree.
Mr. Goodell: I will try to shorten this up.
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. If I understand you correctly, the basis of your opinion on saying that the mere separation - strike that. It’s you r opinion, then, that you can’t have separate schools in any public school system and have equality, is that right?
Q. And that is predicated on the - on your philosophy or your theory that merely because the two races are kept apart in the educational process, isn’t that right, mere separation causes inequality?
A. That is one of the things which causes inequality, yes, sir.
Q. Yes. Now, assuming, Doctor, that we didn’t have separate schools and they were altogether, and you still had a social situation in this community which didn’t recognize co-mingling of the races, didn’t admit them on free equality, that child would run against those - run up against those things in his practical every-day world, wouldn’t he?
A. I presume so.
A. I would think so.
Q. Wouldn’t that tend to cause more of a tempest and emotional strain or psychological impact if he got used to going to school with white children than when he went downtown ad couldn’t eat in a white restaurant, couldn’t go to a white hotel, and couldn’t do this and that, wouldn’t that make the impact greater and accentuate that very thing?
Mr. Greenberg: This witness is qualified as an expert in the field of education, and I don’t believe has testified or is qualified to testify concerning segregation all over the State of Kansas or Elsewhere.
Mr. Goodell: Well, I restrict it to Topeka.
Judge Huxman: I think the Court will sustain the objection. That is purely argumentative. I doubt whether the doctor has qualified himself.
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. Assuming, Doctor, we will restrict this to the educational process, assuming that - that we didn’t have segregation, for the purpose of this question, and assuming further we had a negro child going to Potwin or Oakland or Randolph and assuming that the population trend appears in the schoolroom as it does in our city, so that he would be outnumbered fifty to one, assuming all that, for the purpose of this question being true, wouldn’t that cause some sense of inferiority feeling on the part of the colored child when he went to such a school where he was outnumbered twenty to fifty to one and caused some sort of mental disturbance and upset?
A. On which basis would you rather for me to - on theory or on personal observation or experience?
Q. I am talking about theory here.
A. And personal observation and experience?
A. Let me first mention the latter one; we have adjoining our campus a demonstration school of 210 students in the elementary grades and mixed in with them are about ten negro children, so they are outnumbered in that proportion, and my observation is, and the reports I receive from my assistants are, that those children are very happy, very well adjusted, and that they are there voluntarily. They don’t have to attend.
Mr. Elisha Scott: I object to that.
Judge Huxman: Mr. Scott, are you entered here as an attorney of record?
Mr. Elisha Scott: I am supposed to be.
Judge Huxman: Go ahead.
Mr. Elisha Scott: I object to that because he is invading the rights, and he is answering a question not based upon the evidence adduced or could be adduced.
Judge Huxman: Objection overruled. You may answer.
The witness: Shall I repeat the answer?
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. Have you finished?
A. I think, also, on the basis of our knowledge of child behavior that we can say on a short-range there may be occasionally, the first time we jump in the water we may be a little frightened, but, on a long-range basis, we generally are able to work out our adjustments and make a good situation out of it.
Q. Segregation occurs, doesn’t it, Doctor, in any school system among the races. I mean by that, children that come from wealthy families co-mingle with children from poor families; they go off into different cliques; that occurs, doesn’t it?
A. It occurs sometimes.
Q. Occurs frequently, doesn’t it?
A. Well, it all depends on your definition.
Q. And the child that is left out of the swim, so to speak, he feels inferior or second-class, doesn’t he?
A. Yes, and I think we should prevent that in all cases possible.
Q. You wouldn’t make a new social order to prevent that social strata of society, would you?
Judge Huxman: Just a minute, the Court will sustain an objection to that question.
By Mr. Goodell:
Q. Have you made a survey of any students that have gone to our segregated schools, the negro students, and picked them up to see what effect to their education that you call attention to being inferior, hoe its worked out in every-day life?
A. I have talked to a few of them, but I have not made a survey of them.
Q. Have you heard of anybody getting hired or a professional man having a plant or a businessman having a customer based upon what elementary school he went to in the first grade or the second grade or the sixth grade for that matter?
A. Oh, probably not, but probably there are cases where a person is hired or not hired on the basis of the kind of education he received in the first six grades.
Q. You don’t know a thing about our community and how the negro child, when he goes through our school system, how he is received by the business world at all, do you?
A. Oh, I have known Topeks for some years. I may have a little knowledge.
Q. Do you know anything about that?
A. A little, not much.
A. I don’t know much about it.
Q. Do you know that in the case of the junior high grades and the senior high grades that they are not segregated?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you think, getting back to the school system and the illustration of where the negro child would go to a school where he would be outnumbered twenty to fifty to one, and he wasn’t recognized because of pure majority rule and wasn’t elected head of his class or class officers, or recognized in various school activities, that that would have any impact on such a child?
A. Not as much impact as having been denied even to get into the running.
Q. Do you think that if you got in the school and left out entirely he would feel happy about it, would he?
A. What’s that again?
Q. You think if the negro child was simply be edict law forced into the white school, whether the white school was ready to receive him or not, and however much he was in the minority and however much he would be left out of things, he would still be happy merely because he had found his way into the white school, isn’t that right?A. I think on a long-range plan he would be happier than on the other way.