R.I.P. Linda Brown (Brown v. Board of Education), we are eternally grateful
March 27, 2018
A central figure in the advancement of black education, Linda Brown passed away this weekend at the age of 76. Just a child way back when during the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, which saw several black families dismantle racial serration in the school system, when Brown’s father tried to enroll her in an all-White summer school program in Topeka, near their home. Angered by being turned away from their neighborhood school and forced to bus Linda to the “black school” miles away, Mr. Brown, an assistant pastor at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, partnered with the NAACP and a dozen other plaintiffs to file suit against the Topeka Board of Education.
Two years after Linda was turned away from a white school, the court unanimously ruled to strike down the doctrine of “separate but equal”, confirming that the 14th amendment guarantees equal protection not limited to segregation.
“I just couldn’t understand,” Brown told NPR 19 years after the court ruling. “We lived in a mixed neighborhood but when school time came I would have to take the school bus and go clear across town and the white children I played with would go to this other school,” she said.