Linda Brown, Daughter Of Brown V. Board Plaintiff, Has Died

Linda Brown, Daughter Of Brown V. Board Plaintiff, Has Died

Linda Brown, Daughter Of Brown V. Board Plaintiff, Has Died

Linda Brown, the Kansas schoolgirl who was at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing racial segregation in American public schools, has died at age 76.

Born in February 1942 in Topeka, the capital of Kansas, Brown was barred from attending the elementary school four blocks away from her home in 1951 due to segregation, which allowed only white people for admission.

By the time the Supreme Court handed down its decision Brown was in junior high school and it was her mother who gave her the good news.

"I didn't comprehend color of skin. For that, we owe her our eternal gratitude", it said.

As soon as Brown and other black children's enrollment was disqualified, the civil rights group filed a lawsuit on behalf of the 13 families, representing different states.

The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, involved several families, all trying to dismantle decades of federal education laws that condoned segregated schools for black and white students. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal".

California Senator Kamala Harris echoed this, sending her condolences to Brown's family.

"I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown vs. the Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land".

Brown's death Sunday brought tributes from leaders celebrating the legacy of her case.

In the early 1950s, Oliver Brown sought to enroll his daughter in an all-white school near the family's home in Topeka, Kansas, but was told she had to go to an all-black school that was farther away.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer on Monday acknowledged Brown's contribution to American history.

The president and director-counsel at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. says Linda Brown is one of a band of heroic young people who courageously fought to end the ultimate symbol of white supremacy — racial segregation in public schools.

"Linda Brown's life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world", Colyer said.

Schools had several options for integration, including redrawing school district boundaries or busing students to different schools to change the racial balance.

She moved to Springfield as a teenager and her father became paster of a church in the city. "She stands as an example of how ordinary schoolchildren took center stage in transforming this country".

As a mother of two children who had attended racially diverse schools, she said, "By them going to an integrated school, they are advancing much more rapidly than I was at the age that they are now". What upset Oliver Brown was the distance Linda had to travel to get to school - first a walk through a rail yard and across a busy road, then a bus ride. According to Linda, her father was concerned about her having to walk so far just to get to a segregated school.

"My father was like a lot of other black parents here in Topeka at that time".

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