The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research was established in 1988 to serve as a living tribute to the attorneys, community organizers and plaintiffs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education.

Our mission is to build upon the work of those involved in the Brown decision, to ensure equal opportunity for all people. Our cornerstone is to keep the tenets and ideals of Brown relevant for future generations through programs, preservation, advocacy and civic engagement.


Equal Protection of the Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the five combined cases known only as Oliver L. Brown et. al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka, (KS) et. al. was a monumental judicial turning point for this nation. The legal challenge was originally led by Charles Hamilton Houston and later Thurgood Marshall along with a formidable legal team. The Brown decision dismantled the legal framework for racial segregation.

By declaring that the discriminatory nature of racial segregation…”violates the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws,” Brown v. Board of Education laid the foundation for shaping national and international policies regarding human rights.

What the Brown decision represents is at the core of United States history and the freedoms we enjoy. It reaffirmed the sovereign power of the people of the United States in the protection of their natural rights from arbitrary limits and restrictions imposed by state and local governments. Those rights are recognized in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

What's New

Petition for Homer Plessy's Medal of Freedom

May 18, 2016, is the 120 anniversary of the decision in the Plessy V. Ferguson case. The Plessy & Ferguson Foundation has launched a project to request that Homer Plessy be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his important role in the American Civil Rights Struggle. In order to have President Obama consider the request, we must get 100,000 signatures on the White House petition site by May 15th.

On June 7, 1892, Plessy a mixed-race shoemaker, was sent to jail for sitting in the “white” only car on the East Louisiana railroad, defying a local segregation ordinance. He later became the plaintiff in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where, the Justices decided against him in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896. The loss of the Supreme Court case in 1896 resulted in Plessy’s name being forever associated with the long and oppressive blight of Jim Crow laws and has obscured his contribution to the legal, social and moral movement to abolish those restrictive laws. In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education initiated a new era and the gradual dismantling of legalized American apartheid. Be a part of removing the burdensome legacy of Jim Crow history from his name. The Presidential Medal of Freedom will give him the recognition that he and his fellow civil rights activists so richly deserve. Please support his nomination by signing this petition. Your help in this effort is deeply appreciated. Students, ages 13 and older can also participate by signing the petition. Let’s restore Homer A Plessy’s name with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Read the letter to the President from Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana.

Sign the petition at: www.plessyandferguson.org.

Upcoming Event

Music Transcends – Coming Together as one Community

Commemorating the 62nd anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education

Join us for an evening of gospel, R & B, Blues and Jazz

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Georgia Neece Gray Theatre, Garvey Fine Arts Center, Washburn University, 17th & Jewell

Featuring singer songwriter Kelley Hunt   

Opening performance by the Topeka Community Choir under the direction of Deborah Rob.  

Reservations $12.50 per person - open seating

RSVP by May 19th - Mail your check made payable to
The Brown Foundation, P.O. Box 2338, Mission, KS 66201

To purchase tickets at the door provide your name and #s in your party via email: brownfound@juno.com



  • The 2015 Oliver L. Brown Distinguished Visiting Scholar For Diversity Issues event on October 14 featured Congressman John Lewis. The event was sponsored by Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences and The Brown Foundation in partnership with iREAD: an initiative of Washburn University Mabee Library.  See photos from the event on the right.
  • On November 6, 2014, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education at the twenty-eighth Annual National Equal Justice Award dinner.
  • On Friday, May 16, 2014, President Obama welcomed to the White House - plaintiffs families involved in the 5 cases comprising Brown v. Board of Education along with members of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the last living attorney from the national legal team in Brown. This event commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the case.  These civil rights pioneers had an historic opportunity to meet, greet and be recognized by President Obama.  See photos from the White House visit on our facebook page.
  • A message from the Founding President Cheryl Brown Henderson
  • The 2010-2012 Audit Reports on the Reports page
  • A current board roster is located on the Brown Foundation page.

Also, find us on Facebook and "like" our page for more photos and updates.  Just click on the facebook logo to the right or go to www.facebook.com/brownfoundationks.  

Ideas Week Video