Linda Brown, Woman At The Center Of 1954’s Brown V. Board of Education Ruling Ending Segregation, Passes Away
Ever heard of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling? Of course. We all learned about the historic ruling that ended public school segregation in this country. But what about the young girl who was at the center of it all?
Well, the woman, who was then just 9-years-old, at the center of that decision, passed away on Sunday afternoon at the age of 75. Her name was Linda Brown.
As reported to The Topeka Capital-Journal, Linda’s death was confirmed by her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, who runs the Brown Foundation. Linda passed away in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas with an amazing legacy that we should all be thankful for.
As a young girl, Linda’s father, Oliver, tried to enroll the family in Topeka’s all-white Sumner School. After being denied, he brought the issue to the NAACP, who then brought the case to the Supreme Court to challenge segregation in public schools nationwide. With Oliver as the lead plaintiff, other black families joined the lawsuit, families from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and D.C. who had been denied admission because of the color of their children’s skin.
And on May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that school segregation was unconstitutional because it denied black children the 14th amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the law.
“In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, expressed how much of a shining example Linda was, especially for someone to be so young and so did the Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner and the Governor of Kansas.
“She stands as an example of how ordinary schoolchildren took center stage in transforming this country. It was not easy for her or her family, but her sacrifice broke barriers and changed the meaning of equality in this country,” Ifill said.
“Her legacy is not only here but nationwide,” Dale Dennis, Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner said. “The effect she had on our society would be unbelievable and insurmountable.”
Rest in power, Linda Brown.
Renese spends her early mornings writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
Follow Renese on Twitter: @reneseford