Hugh Speer

Red Brick School
Class of 1924

(May 28, 1906 — June 21, 1996)

Hugh grew up on the family farm in the area of 119th Street and I-35 before going to American University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English, then to George Washington University for a master’s in political science, and finally Chicago University where he received a doctorate of philosophy in education. While dean emeritus of the school of education at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Hugh became an integral player in the school segregation trial in Topeka in 1951. Because of his background in education, he was asked by the plaintiffs in the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education case to examine the Topeka schools for equality of education for all students. In addition to his findings of inequality, he testified in the trial as an expert witness. In 1963 he organized a conference that led to the establishment of community colleges in the Midwest. He served on the Johnson County Community College board of trustees from 1967 until his death. He returned to his farm roots in 1970 when he started The Speer Kid Farm petting zoo, museum and playground on the site of the ancestral farmstead.