IPA is saddened to learn of the death of Linda Brown. Brown was the plaintiff at the center of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark court case the ended segregation in public schools. Brown died Sunday afternoon. She was 75 years old.
In 1954, when she was just 9 years’ old, Brown’s father tried to enroll her in Summer Elementary School, which was an all-white school in Topeka. When the school refused her enrollment, Brown’s father sued the Topeka Board of Education. Four similar cases were combined with Brown’s and culminated with the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruling that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall served as the lead attorney for Brown and the other plaintiffs.
Linda Brown’s story is an important reminder of how a 9-year-old student can have the fortitude and courage to change history. Linda Brown was a true American hero.