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Daughters of "Brown v. Board of Education" plaintiff offer lecture this week

March 26, 2002

Slated for 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the new Morgan University Center, the lecture, titled "Implications of Brown v. Board of Education Today," is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson are the daughters of Oliver L. Brown, a plaintiff in the 1954 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education.

Through their work with the Brown Foundation, they have dedicated themselves to preserving the historic legacy of their father. Both have extensive speaking experience as guest lecturers on more than 50 college campuses, before many organizations and community groups as well as on television and in print media. They also have appeared in several documentaries.

What brought their father to the forefront in this legal action? By 1950 African Americans were weary of state laws that only permitted their children to attend certain schools. In response, the NAACP assembled a legal team to file suit against various local school boards on behalf of these parents and their children.

Five suits were filed, including one from Kansas that was named for one of the plaintiffs, Oliver L. Brown, father of the two women. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown's favor in Oliver L. Brown et. al. v. The Board of Education of Topeka.

The Brown sisters often are called upon to chronicle the history of their family's participation in this court battle, its impact on education and the civil rights movement.

However, according to Dr. Jill Eichhorn, coordinator of women's studies, their story has relevance in today's climate of increased awareness of the need for better race relations.

For more information, telephone Eichhorn at 6314.