Commemorating the Life and Legacy of Linda Carol Brown Thompson (February 20, 1943 – March 25, 2018)
WHEREAS, Linda Carol Brown, the oldest of three daughters of Leola and Oliver Brown, was born in Topeka, Kansas on February 20, 1943; and
WHEREAS, as a third grade student, Linda's parents attempted to enroll her in nearby Sumner elementary school and were denied due to the color of her skin, prompting them to join the group of civil rights lawsuits coordinated and supported by the National Association for the Association of Colored People (NAACP), which was ultimately decided in the renown United States Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; and
WHEREAS, at the time, Linda, had no concept of segregation and simply wanted to avoid a long walk and bus ride, and went on to become the symbolic center of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; and
WHEREAS, although her right to attend Sumner was upheld in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, by the time the case was decided by the Supreme Court in 1954, she was already in junior high school; and
WHEREAS, Linda later attended an integrated middle school, where she was sometimes harassed by journalists who tracked her grades (which reportedly were never less than a B on her year-end report card), and she later attended an integrated high school in Springfield, Missouri; and
WHEREAS, Linda's advocacy for equal access to education continued throughout her lifetime, even reopening her case against the Kansas Board of Education in 1979, while her own children were attending Topeka schools, arguing that segregation continued; and was again victorious with the appeals court ruling in her favor in 1993; and
WHEREAS, Linda Carol Brown Thompson was a wife, mother, champion for equity in education, a civil rights activist, a public speaker, an education consultant, a Head Start teacher and a program associate in the Brown Foundation, who departed this earthly life on March 25, 2018 in Topeka, Kansas.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People commemorates the remarkable life and legacy of Linda Carol Brown Thompson, the lead named plaintiff in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, argued in the U.S. Supreme Court by the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall, which led to outlawing school segregation in 1954; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP family trusts that the family of Mrs. Brown Thompson will find solace in her indelible place in history as the iconic center of the most famous Supreme Court case in American history, which bares her maiden last name and will perpetually impact the lives of students in the nation's public education system; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP implores its units to ensure that the central plaintiff in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision is remembered and acknowledged so that future generations may be fully enlightened of the significant role of Linda Carol Brown Thompson in NAACP and United States history.