Linda Brown, who at just nine-years-old became the subject of the Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court case that ended segregation in schools, died Monday at age 76, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Brown’s sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death.
In 1951, Oliver Brown tried to enroll his daughter at Sumner Elementary School, then an all-white school in Topeka, Kansas.
He was rebuffed and told to enroll his daughter at the all-black Monroe School, about two miles from their home.
Oliver Brown sued the Topeka Board of Education. Four similar cases were combined with Brown’s complaint and presented to the Supreme Court as Oliver L. Brown et al v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, et al.
The court’s landmark ruling in May 1954 found that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and led to the desegregation of the US education system.
Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP’s special counsel and lead counsel for the plaintiffs, argued the case before the Supreme Court.
“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America. 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,” Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer said.