Ahead Of Her Class
Observing The Passing of Linda Brown, Plaintiff in 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Case and Youth Leaders Who Seek Change
By County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III
“[Recently], we lost an American hero who changed equal access to public education for tens of millions of our nation’s citizens - yet most Americans never knew her first name. Linda Brown, the young girl who was the plaintiff in the landmark Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was at the heart of the unforgettable Supreme Court case in 1954 which lead to the integration of America’s public schools.
At the time, Linda was a third grade student, about 9 years old, whose family simply wanted her to attend the public school that was closest to their home, Sumner Elementary School. Her courage in the face of incredible cruelty laid the groundwork for African-Americans, and other minorities, to obtain equal access to public education and dismantled the so-called “Separate But Equal” law.
As I thought about Linda Brown’s contribution to our nation, I was reminded of the remarkable courage that young people have displayed which has changed the normal course of events in our society. On March 24, at the “March for Our Lives," I witnessed that type of courage and the determined difference young people can make on important issues like education. Like Linda Brown, these young people are looking beyond their current situation and they are focused on creating a better day. They are leading America’s next great moment in social change.
Whether it is Linda Brown, other civil rights history makers like Ruby Bridges, James Meredith, ‘The Little Rock Nine’ or Prince George’s County’s own, Wayne Curry, there are countless young people and their families who stepped out on faith to integrate our public schools. Thanks to their efforts, our schools are far more inclusive. It is hard to imagine what America would be like if Linda Brown and had not taken the risk.
Today, more than ever, we need more people to fight for our children to get the necessary funding and resources to support public education in the State of Maryland and throughout our country. Every child deserves a great education and Linda Brown is an example of why we must continue our vigorous fight to make our public schools better for all students.”