CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two daughters of the late Rev. Oliver Brown - for whom the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision was named - will give a lecture at 4 p.m. on March 11 in Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.
Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson will speak on the "impact, legacy and significance of struggles to achieve Brown's promise of desegregation." The lecture is free and open to the public.
Linda was 7 years old when her father sought to enroll her in an all-white elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, and the school's refusal to admit her led Oliver Brown to join 12 other parents as plaintiffs in a case against the board of education. The Topeka case was one of five involved in the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended legal segregation in public schools and helped ignite the civil rights movement.
Linda has been an educator and activist, and in 1979 filed a suit to reopen the Brown case on behalf of her two children, citing the slow pace of desegregation.
Cheryl also has been an educator and activist, and helped establish the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka. She is a member of the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, established in 2001 with President Bush's signature.
The two sisters are co-founders of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, and Cheryl serves as its executive director.
The lecture by the Brown sisters is part of the yearlong Brown v. Board of Education Jubilee Commemoration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.