Kansas governor apologizes for century of segregation

KANSAS CITY, Kansas Thu May 17, 2012 8:25pm EDT

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (L), Texas Governor Rick Perry (C) and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) examine a package of the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef during a tour of Beef Products Inc.'s plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska March 29, 2012, where the beef product is made. REUTERS/Nati Harnik/Pool

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (L), Texas Governor Rick Perry (C) and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) examine a package of the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef during a tour of Beef Products Inc.'s plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska March 29, 2012, where the beef product is made.

Credit: Reuters/Nati Harnik/Pool

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - Kansas Governor Sam Brownback apologized on Thursday to blacks for segregation in his state in the last century as he marked the anniversary of a ruling that struck down segregation in schools.

The Republican governor said Kansas had never really apologized for the "hateful practice" of segregating black people from white in public places after the abolition of slavery.

Brownback signed the proclamation on the 58th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1954 ruling in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education in which "separate but equal" schools for black and white students were declared unconstitutional. Topeka is the state capital of Kansas.

The proclamation apologized for the dehumanizing nature of laws that allowed racial segregation in public places and said it was "important for the citizens of Kansas to at last move forward and seek reconciliation."

Brownback signed a similar proclamation last November expressing regret for wrongs that had been done to Native Americans in Kansas who generations ago were forced off their land and mistreated.

(Editing by David Bailey and Cynthia Johnston)

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