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Linda Brown, central figure in school segregation case, dies

27 March 2018

Linda Brown, a civil rights activist who was the lead name in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, which led to the prohibition of USA school segregation in 1954 died on Sunday.

Born in 1943, Brown was in third grade in 1950 when she was denied admission to an all-white elementary school in her hometown of Topeka. Smith was a 3rd grader when her father started a class-action suit in 1951 of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., which led to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 landmark decision.

In a unanimous ruling in 1954, the court declared school segregation an unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. He continued, "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". No cause of death was released. Linda Brown and her sister founded in 1988 the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research.

Her family did not issue any official statement about her death; however, the news of her demise was confirmed by the Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel in Topeka.

Her family was among several that reopened the original Brown case in 1979 to argue that the job of integration in Topeka remained incomplete.

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Brown's close friend Carolyn Campbell described Brown as a shy person: "Linda was quiet".

By the time the Supreme Court handed down its decision Brown was in junior high school and it was her mother who gave her the good news.

"She stands as an example of how ordinary schoolchildren took center stage in transforming this country", Ifill said.

Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia said as a child Brown's "courage and bravery inspired us".

But they also acknowledged the work that remains in bringing equality to American schools.

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"Today we honour Linda Brown and all the fights we have left to win". "May she rest in power", said the Congressional Black Caucus. They all challenged the constitutionality of racial segregation in public schools.

Cities such as Boston had controversial busing programs for decades with parents complaining about kids being sent far from home and questioning whether the efforts were still necessary.

"I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown v. the Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land", Brown said in a 1985 interview for "Eyes on the Prize", a PBS documentary series on the civil rights movement.

In 1954, there were four African-American schools and 18 white schools in Topeka. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States.

The Civil Rights Project says persistent segregation is worst in northern and western states, and that the 17 states with a history of explicit segregation laws have not led the list since 1970.

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Linda Brown, central figure in school segregation case, dies