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the Media was in attendance 1949: Revisiting the Trojans & the Ramblers
box [graphic] PANEL DISCUSSION►October 15, 2009
estimates of 300+ addending Ralph welcomes attendees entrance to Topeka High School's cafeteria
basketball players' panel historical slide show welcome Ramblers and their tour bus introductory slide show audience observes slides
Mark Elliott, AM 580 WIBW, mangages the discussion Vince Frye, Topeka and Shawnee Co. Sports Council panelist Jack Alexander Topeka's mayor, Bill Bunten, and Henry Alberg were Trojans Don Redmond and Dick Ridley were Ramblers Dick Ridley makes a remark
Don Remond comments Mayor Bill Bunten Debra Goodrich with Bill Wagnon, who speaks of the Ritchie Project Don Redmond and Dick Ridley enjoy their remembrances
Debra Goodrich, Dean Smith, Dave Schafer, Carlton Scroggins Youth stay standing Dean Smith greets fans USD 501 School Board attend Topeka High School cafeteria
panel receive thank-you baskets Dean Smith with Carlton Scroggins, SCHS president crowd departs The Dungeon, THS basketball court
event flyers, see PDF version
Topeka High, Jack Alexander Jack Alexander shakes hands Topeka High School tower

Participants:
Vince Frye, Topeka Shawnee Co. Sports Council
Linda Wiley, Principal, Topeka High School
Carlton Scroggins, Shawnee County Historical Society president
Dave Schafer, National Park Service
Debra Goodrich, Shawnee County Historical Society
Bill Wagnon, Shawnee County Historical Societ

Mark Elliott, AM 580 WIBW, moderator
Panelists:

Henry "Hank" Alberg, Class of 1949, Trojan
Jack Alexander, Class of 1949, Rambler
Bill Bunten, Topeka mayor, Class of 1948, Trojan
Donald Redmon, Class of 1947, Rambler
Richard Ridley, Class of 1947, Rambler

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by Topeka High School, Shawnee County Historical Society, Visit Topeka, National Park Service, WIBW AM 580 Radio, and Topeka and Shawnee County Sports Council

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Since America's founding fathers penned the words "We the People...," debate has raged over who is "we." The truth is, the meaning has evolved just as the meaning of freedom has continually redefined itself in this "Land of the Free." Kansans have had their place in the enduring struggle for freedom. Topeka was thrust into the national spotlight and played a vital role as "we" became more equal, more free.

Just prior to the 1954 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Oliver L. Brown, et. al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et. al., Topekans of all colors enjoyed excellent educational opportunities, but the setting remained askew. Topeka's high school was integrated, but elementary schools were not. While most sports teams and other activities at Topeka High were integrated, basketball was not. Trojans were white and Ramblers were black. Was this truly separate but equal? Players described their experiences, leaving the audience to decide.

The Shawnee County Historical Society has been committed to promoting the awareness of our local heritage as a way of encouraging historic preservation. The SCHS continues to celebrate our rich and vibrant history as local people and events have had a profound impact on the national stage.

The John Ritchie House is a model of historic preservation and gives the society a vehicle to promote public awareness of this distinctive heritage. The connection, both geographically and historically, to Brown v. Board of Education Nation Historic Site, makes the Ritchie House an invaluable tool for relaying the civil rights struggles of Shawnee County and its place in the context of the nation's struggle for equality. This is why "Freedom's Pathway" is such an appropriate name for the sites linked by this trail, taking us not only from place to place, but from era to era as we continue to discover the progress of our ancestors.

The dialogue begun here will continue as others share their experiences and memories so that our children and grandchildren may better understand the world they inherit.

Part of healing is understanding and claiming our collective voices. The event last Thursday provided the opportunity to claim voices and make a difference in a quiet, respectful manner. It was an inspiration to see those men on the panel come together under the Trojan banner." —Bill Moore

 

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