Brown v. Board of Education Sisters Speak at Central High School

By Daniel Shedd |

Published 07/31 2014 09:52PM

Updated 07/31 2014 10:18PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- This year marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark supreme court decision Brown vs. Board of Education.

The court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional.

Two of the children involved in the lawsuit have Springfield ties.

Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson were just young girls when their name became attached to one of the most important supreme court cases in the civil rights movement.

They lived in Springfield when the ruling was handed down 60 years ago.

When the Brown sisters were children, public schools in their city of Topeka, Kansas were segregated.

"And it wasn't that we weren't getting a good education, because we were, but it was the distance that we had to travel to obtain that education," Linda Brown said.

Their father, the late Reverend Oliver Brown, wanted his daughters to attend a school closer to their house, but was denied based on race.

"Well we're glad that not only our father but others had the foresight to see that something needed to be done," she said.

So Brown joined dozens of others in a lawsuit against the Board of Education, and the family name went down in history.

"I really know that it was something that was really necessary for people throughout the country," she said.

60 years after the landmark case, his daughters spoke in Springfield, where Linda Brown graduated high school, to an audience of more than 500.

"See through their eyes the kinds of changes they have seen in society," Attendee Suzanne Walker-Pacheco said.

She brought her mother and her son, who's a Central High Student.

"A lot of people don't think about how much history influences our actions now. Just wanted to make sure that my son is aware of that history," she said.

The Brown sisters said in their presentation Thursday night that they are proud of the impact this case had on not only their generation, but for those to come.

The presentation kicked off an exhibit about the landmark court case, which will be on display at Springfield's Library Center until August 22nd.

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