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Anna Kate

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

The Story of Linda Brown (Told by Linda Brown) written by Anna Kate Jones



This is Linda and her outgoing family!!






Hello! I am Linda Brown. My story of my childhood is heart breaking yet exciting. Today I am willing to share the story of the change of history! Are you ready?

The year was 1951. My father and my family lived in Topeka, Kansas. When school came around, my sister, Sarah Lynn, and I had to walk 1 mile through a dangerous switchyard just to get to my African American school. My father would not tolerate this for one more year. So he went right up and asked the principal of the White school, which was only 7 blocks away from my house, if I could attend school there. The principal didn't really acknowledge this problem. My father got very upset and went to the NAACP for help. Fortunatlly, the NAACP was very willing to help with this case for it had been bothering them for many years. My father also went to other families for help. Many of them wanted to help. I asked my father why this was such a problem for everyone. My father bent down to get face to face with me. "My darling Linda," he said," You and every African American person in this country are going through something called 'SEGREGATION' and this means the states are separating Whites and African Americans. Me and your Ma, we think this is unconstitutional and we are going to do something about!" This made me feel really lucky. I mean my father was someone fighting for civil rights. That made a big difference in my life. It was like being in the middle of a change of history. I also met many new friends. Some were Sarah Branch and Carrie Finch. They were both African Americans like me. They also wanted to go to a white school. I was very happy but yet worried. My father would stay up late every night and would try to come up with an argument for our case which was to be heard soon. I would ask my father if I could help. He would just look at me with worry in his eyes. I took that answer as a no. So I usually made my loneliness go away by playing with Sarah and Carrie. We would talk about what our parents were doing and how stressed they were. But we always found a bright side to it and that was that we knew that one day, just one day, we would get to go to school in the nice school house with the people that are equal to us, the Whites.



When our case was brought to court on June 25-26, 1951. I was out of school so I could go to it. My father argued that having segregated schools showed little African American children, like me, that they were inferior to whites. The Board of Education testified that showing children that African Americans and Whites are to be separated, that shows the way of life. Now that little statement right there made me think. Is it always going to be that way? Am I less than a White? Will I ever be friends with a White? After that statement the case was difficult to answer. There was no decision and the case would be sceduled another time for a reargument. After my father shook hands unwillingly with the enemy (the Board of Education), I ask my father if the statement about being separated will always be true. He said, "If we stick together as family and friends, we will win this case and that will never be true again". I thought about it and imagined going to White restaurants with actual White people! Oh that sounded so great. Now I was going to help all I could to win this case!!


The case went to the Supreme Court on October 1, 1951. I wasn't able to go because I had to stay in school. My Father told me our case was combined with similar cases all over America. But unfortunately, our case wasn't heard until December 9, 1952. Again this case had no decision. The case was reargued on nearly a year later (I don't know why it took so long to answer this case. I even knew the answer; it was African Americans will go to school with whites! Gosh! It's that simple!!!). I was able to go to the case with Sarah and Carrie because it was a really big deal to mostly everyone in Kansas. Anyway the court heard both sides of our story. For the first part of it was really boring so Sarah, Carrie and I whispered to each other and made fun of the goofy hairdoos of judges. But the I heard something that caught my attention. The Judge said," Please explian your cases with the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 ". Fourteenth amendment, Fourteenth, Fourteenth.....Oh yea!! I had learned about the Fourteenth admenment in school it said no state can take away a person's right. Finally! A sentence that I could understand! You see at all the court cases I have been to, I can never understand a word they are saying! All I hear is blah, blah, blah. Oops!! I got off the topic. Lets see were was I...yep right here about the 14th admendment. I looked at my father. He had a satisfied grin. For he knew the state basically took away the right to go to school with the other race! Ha! We are definitely going to win this argument!!!! Sarah and Carrie smiled at me with excitement. First the court had to decide whether or not the authors of the 14th admendment meant to desegregate schools. Each side argued there case. Was the case decided? You will see.......


The case was decided in May of 1954. Chief Justice Earl Warren read the unanimous Courts decision. His exact words were....We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.


That statement was really hard to understand. So this is what my father said they were saying... The court and America will now not follow the "Separate but Equal" statement. America is demanding the desegregation of public schools all over America. Everyone, execpt the enemy, threw their arms up in the air for the joy of either them or their children will be able to go to a White school.


After we got home, everyone had a party for us. There was yummy cake and cookies. I played with Sarah and Carrie. We talked about all the new friends we'd make at our nice new school. We hoped that the Whites wouldn't be mean to us for they are just like us. Sarah talked about what would happen if everything was desegregated. Like the bathrooms and street cars. We imagined a country of peace.


After everyone left, I was sent to bed for it was nearly dawn. When my Father came in he looked at me with compassion. "What?" I said very confused. He said," Linda, my darling Linda, me, you and Kansas, we changed history! We changed America! Just think of the joy every little girl and boy just like you is having. You are part of history Linda!" Wow! I...I...I didn't know what to say. So I went to bed and had a dream. A dream where I was in history books with my father and what the books say about us? Well they would say that we were a change of America!!!


And so here I am today. I am telling you this story to inform you that anyone can change America. I mean look at me. I was in Topeka, Kansas. Who ever talks about Topeka, Kansas? So anywhere you are, do something to change America.

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