Rest In Power: Remembering Linda Brown Of The Landmark Brown v. Board Of Education Case

Photo credit: Carl Iwaski/ Getty Images  

On Sunday, March 25, Linda Brown of the Brown v. Board of Education case passed away at the age of 76. 

Brown was only 12 years old when she became the pioneering plaintiff in the 1954 Supreme Court case that ultimately led to the desegregation of public schools in the United States. The class action suit was filed by Brown's father Oliver Brown in 1951 after, like several other Black children, were denied enrollment in Kansas' formerly all-white Sumner School. Brown was 9 years old at the time. 

"I didn't comprehend color of skin. "I only knew that I wanted to go to Sumner," recalled Brown. 

Brown's case was joined with four similar desegregation cases, which were sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Brown, and as a result, the 1896 "separate but equal" ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson was struck down. The case went on to pave the way for the integration of schools and public facilities. 

Photo credit: Carl Iwaski/ Getty Images

In a 1985 interview on PBS' documentary series "Eyes on the Prize", Brown said: "I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown v. The Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land. I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second class citizenship. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today."

Three years laters, in 1988, Brown co-founded the Brown Foundation for Education Equity, Excellence and Research with her sister Cheryl Brown Henderson. 

Photo via: AP 

"The life of every American has been touched by Linda Brown," Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told HuffPost in a statement. "This country is indebted to her, the Brown family, and the many other families involved in the cases that successfully challenged school segregation."

Photo via: AP/Shutterstock

Ms. Brown, today and every day we remember and honor you for your courage, sacrifice and relentless fight for equal education. Rest in power. 


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