Corinthian Nutter — Honored in 2023

  • Corinthian NutterDistinguished Person of Honor

    (Dec. 10, 1906 – Feb. 10, 2004)

    Corinthian was a civil rights pioneer and lifelong educator. Despite leaving school at age 14, Corinthian earned a master’s degree in education. In 1943, she was hired as the only certified teacher in the two-room Walker School (for Blacks only) in Merriam, Kan. Years later, School District 90 (Merriam) opened South Park Elementary for white students. The inequality between the new school and Walker’s lack of indoor plumbing, auditorium, and grade-level classrooms prompted parents to withdraw their children from Walker. Corinthian continued to teach those children in homes, with compensation from the NAACP. New York attorney Thurgood Marshall (later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court) helped the families successfully sue the district. “Schools shouldn’t be for a color. They should be for children,” Corinthian testified before the Kansas Supreme Court. This was before the Brown vs Board of Education trial, at which Corinthian also testified. In 1951, Corinthian was hired as a teacher and principal of Olathe’s Black school, Lincoln Elementary, and taught there until Lincoln closed in 1958 and students were transferred to Central or Westview elementary schools. She was hired as the first Black teacher at Westview, later serving as its principal.