Judy Jackson and her friends dashed down dusty paths of the Pierce Addition community without concern for the condition of the school they attended as children.

A sparse historical record portrays the two-room Pierce grade school as Topeka’s backyard disgrace, but Jackson’s memories of the largely forgotten school are more forgiving.

“It was very casual and very comfortable for a little kid,” Jackson said. “Very safe. We walked those country streets, walked to school and walked home.”

The Pierce school, at 2235 S.E. Jefferson, served a predominantly black community just outside of city limits. Because it wasn’t part of Topeka Unified School District 501, Pierce wasn’t involved in the landmark Brown v. Board case that ended segregation in 1954.

Often overlooked in the fight for

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