Last surviving Brown v. Board of Education plaintiff dies




This is what a real civil rights heroine looks like. From the NYT:

Zelma Henderson, a Kansas beautician who was the sole surviving plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark federal desegregation case of 1954, died on Tuesday in Topeka. She was 88 and had lived in Topeka all her adult life….

The Brown case, which began as a Kansas class-action suit in 1951, was known formally as Oliver L. Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka et al. Mrs. Henderson was the last of the “et al.” on the complainants’ side in the original case. In the decades since, she appeared often at events commemorating the decision and was widely interviewed in the news media.

Considered one of the United States Supreme Court’s most seminal decisions, Brown outlawed segregation in the nation’s public schools. A cornerstone of the emerging civil rights movement, it paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in other public facilities….

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision.

“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the court’s opinion. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”…

In an interview with The Dallas Morning News in 1994, Mrs. Henderson reflected on Brown 40 years later. “None of us knew that this case would be so important and come to the magnitude it has,” she said. “What little bit I did, I feel I helped the whole nation.”


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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