Foundation that Honors Brown v. Board of Education Evicted from National Park Site

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December 1, 2011; Source: Kansas City Star | The Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, has special meaning to those of us who grew up in the 1950s and remember first-hand the legacy of racial discrimination in public schools. The Kansas City Star reports that a foundation headed by the daughter of the lead plaintiff in that historical case—the Rev. Oliver Brown—has been evicted from a National Park site located in a formerly segregated school in Topeka, Kansas, where the suit originated. The organization is the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, run by Cheryl Brown Henderson. Apparently, last year a federal investigation criticized Brown Henderson for a conflict of interest when she concurrently ran the National Park site, charging that while running the site she funneled some $300,000 to the foundation, which employed her sister and her boyfriend. That apparently led to an audit by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General. The audit hadn’t been released to the public or the press as of late last week, but the site superintendent said that the results were “troubling,” and that led to the request for the foundation to leave. We will watch to see what kind of findings were so troubling as to lead to this somewhat precipitous request from the Department of Interior that the Brown Foundation move out.—Rick Cohen