Linda Brown was only 9 years old when her father, Oliver Brown, attempted to enroll her at Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas. The school blocked her enrollment. Why? Because Sumner was was an all-white school back in 1951. Mr. Brown was not having it. He sued the Topeka Board of Education. Thus, Brown V. Board of Education was born.
In May 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Thurgood Marshall argued the case before the Supreme Court. The ruling overturned Plessy V. Ferguson, the ruling that birthed “separate but equal.” In 1955, and for decades to come, desegregation of schools became the law of the land, although it still has not be fully achieved.
Linda Brown, the inspiration behind Brown V. Board, passed away at the age of 75 this past Sunday in Topeka, Kansas.
Although she will forever be remembered for the landmark civil rights case, Linda has a separate legacy she left behind in her community. She is remembered by Carolyn Campbell, a longtime friend of Linda, as a “very quiet person, but spiritual, patient and very kind.” Campbell continued to say, “Linda was a spiritual Christian woman that loved not only the Lord, but she loved her family and took on the responsibility of what Brown V. Board of Education meant to her.
Social media remembered Linda Brown as an icon, a hero, and proof that #BlackGirlMagic is nothing new.
Remembering #LindaBrown and the legacy of her father and mother who dared to say NO to putting their little daughter in a segregated school at the height of Jim Crow. Grateful for her life and her bravery. Rest in power Linda. pic.twitter.com/lzXZTOoLHP
— BlackWomanRedefined (@BWRpaperback) March 27, 2018
Grateful to #LindaBrown; your courage, resilience, and perseverance in the face of racism, bigotry, and oppression is literally why I was able to access the education that got me to where I am. We still have along way to go to make education equitable but you changed my life.
— Joseph Oteng (@drjotengii) March 26, 2018
The fight of Linda Brown and her father led to the Brown v. Board of Education case, setting the stage for students like me to avoid the kind of discrimination she suffered. I'll always argue that she was one of the most important Americans who ever lived. https://t.co/lR2r4MYdc8
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 26, 2018
64 years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America. 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. #ksleg https://t.co/NN08FbGq7s
— Governor Jeff Colyer (@GovJeffColyer) March 26, 2018