Kansas girl at center of 1954 school segregation ruling dies

Linda Brown center of Brown v. Board case dies at 76

Linda Brown, who was at the center of the 1950s court battle leading to the desegregation of United States public schools, died Monday, the organisation that spearheaded the landmark legal effort said.

Brown's father Oliver took legal action when he was prevented from enrolling his daughter into Sumner elementary school due to the colour of her skin.

"I didn't comprehend color of skin".

"It was a bright, sunny day and we walked briskly, and I remember getting to these great big steps", she said.

"I was a very young child when I started walking to school", Brown said in a 1985 interview for the documentary series "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years".

It is Brown's father, Oliver, whose name is attached to the famous case, although the suit that ended up in the US Supreme Court actually represented a number of families in several states.

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation was unconstitutional.

However, despite shyness, Brown was a member of living history who traveled the country, sharing her monumental experience.

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"I could tell something was wrong, and he came out and took me by the hand and we walked back home", she said of her father.

Brown spent her whole life in her hometown and passed away there as well.

His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday, March 14, confirming his death at his home in Cambridge.

Brown's sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, founding president of the Brown Foundation, confirmed the death to the Topeka Capital-Journal but reportedly declined comment from the family.

Linda Brown, who as a Kansas girl was at the center of the landmark US Supreme Court ruling that struck down racial segregation in schools, has died at age 75. "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". The school's refusal to accept her led her father to meet with the NAACP.

Schools had several options for integration, including redrawing school district boundaries or busing students to different schools to change the racial balance. She later worked as an educational consultant and public speaker.

"Linda Brown is one of that special brand of heroic young people who, along with her family, courageously fought to end the ultimate symbol of white supremacy - racial segregation in public schools", said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

"I played with children that were Spanish-American". Topeka, a city that was less than 10 percent black at the time of the case, had integrated high schools and had begun integrating its middle schools. She lived 20 blocks from her segregated school, but just five blocks from the all-white school. "They were concerned not about the quality of education that their children were receiving, they were concerned about the amount, or distance that the child had to go to receive an education", Brown said.

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