Linda Brown, who was at the forefront of fighting racial segregation in U.S. schools, has died, according to news reports.
In 1954 the Supreme Court found in the landmark decision — involving Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and other legal cases — that the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place in public education.
Brown was forced to walk across railroad tracks and take a bus to grade school despite there being a school four blocks away from her home. This was due to the elementary schools in Topeka being racially segregated, with separate facilities for black and white children.
In 1950, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked a group of African-American parents that included Oliver Brown to attempt to enroll their children in all-white schools, with the expectation that they would be turned away. Oliver attempted to do so with 9-year old Linda, who was in third grade at the time and barred from enrollment at Sumner Elementary. The strategy was for the civil rights group to file a lawsuit on behalf of the 13 families, who represented different states.
The case was named after Oliver Brown, Linda’s father, and a minister. Brown’s death was reported by The Topeka Capital-Journal and CNN. Brown was 76.
Monroe and Sumner elementary schools became National Historic Landmarks on May 4, 1987, according to the National Park Service. President George H.W. Bush signed the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Act of 1992 on October 26, 1992, which established Monroe as a national park.