Note to the Press
From the Brown Family
In 2004, we experienced the grand opening of Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service. With this opening the federal government memorialized the significance of the Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision that dismantled the legal framework for racial segregation and overturned the doctrine of “Separate but Equal”, which the court previously affirmed in the 1896 decision, Plessy vs. Ferguson.
As the family of Oliver Brown, case namesake, we view this as an exceptional opportunity for public awareness, public education and a chance for the nation to pay its respects to those who sacrificed to ensure the rights we now enjoy. In 1988, we began work toward a national recognition by establishing The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research. Our overarching mission is to educate the public about the complex facts and history behind the Brown decision. The existence of the National Park will enhance our efforts.
For more than five decades most people have misunderstood the background and impact of the Brown case. At the time of the court’s decision, in 1954, for most places this was not “big news” and received minor mention in the press. As a result myths and speculation replaced facts and over time have come to eclipse what really occurred.
Although the Brown decision is named for our family patriarch, Oliver L. Brown, that is where our uniqueness to this history ends. Like the companion cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C., all combined under Brown by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Topeka case was conceived of and organized by the NAACP. In addition, for Kansas this was the 12th legal challenge to racially segregated public elementary schools in the state.
Contrary to the myth, Oliver Brown DID NOT initiate or file this case on behalf of his eldest daughter Linda. The NAACP in Topeka led by McKinley Burnett, just like the companion cases, recruited families with school aged children to comprise the roster of plaintiffs. In Topeka that plaintiff list numbered 13 families. The parents were plaintiffs, standing against being denied the right to enroll their children in any elementary school but rather only being allowed to enroll their children in schools designated for then based on race.
The combined cases represent nearly 300 hundred plaintiffs, nearly two-dozen attorneys and a community organizer in each community.
We appreciate your visit to this web site and have tried to provide information that will help reach the broadest audience possible. We hope our efforts can ensure that after 50+ years, we can finally put to rest the myths and speculation. Since legal scholars and historians agree that the Brown decision is among the most significant judicial turning points in the development of our country it is time for this history to be clearly understood.
For our family, it is always refreshing when a media interview, a school project or a historic documentary is developed by someone who wished to base their work on research and understanding of the facts not the fiction that Brown v. Board of Education has become.
For more media resources, view other pages of this web site or click on the links below: