The Legacy of Linda Brown 

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 29, 2018

Linda Brown et al..jpg

The recent passing of Linda Brown, whose landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, opened the door to desegregate public schools, is yet another reminder of the role young people have played in shaping our society. At only seven years old, she was thrust into the national debate surrounding "separate but equal" schools, and even deeper below the surface, the tense debate around race in the United States. 

As we continue to see the renewed sense of energy around student activism, it's important to remember the struggle of those before us. Linda Brown, and her father Oliver, took a stand against an unjust and unequal system, as it was widely known schools were separate and anything but equal: black schools were run-down with little resources and black teachers were paid less than their white counterparts. 

While the ruling in favor of the Browns triggered the desegregation of public schools in America, it was a stepping stone in the larger battle for civil rights for African Americans that carried into the 1960s. And, it laid down a solid foundation for other policies that protected people with disabilities, showing that our actions can have a rippling and lasting effect. 

Consider exploring the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, and other civil rights moments through the documentary, "Eyes on the Prize," and our accompanying study guideIt offers important lessons about the power of ordinary citizens to shape democracy, which our young people are seeing today in the wake of Parkland. 

Get the Study Guide

Photo Caption and Credit: [Linda Brown Smith, Ethel Louise Belton Brown, Harry Briggs, Jr., and Spottswood Bolling, Jr. during press conference at Hotel Americana] / Sun photo by Al Ravenna. Library of Congress.

Topics: Civil Rights Movement

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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