Knowledge is something that almost all of us would like to acquire. In my case, I was initially apprehensive with wanting to learn more about a particular person whom I did not know anything about. I wanted to increase my knowledge about things but my apprehension came from the possibility that I might meet a blank wall when trying to find out about somebody whose name I haven’t even heard being said by other people. My initial expectations were that I would probably not find anything about the person and I would most likely be crestfallen at what I would find. Nevertheless, I was pleased to have had this opportunity at discovery because I knew that whatever I learned would probably make me appreciate people and situations even more.
Learning about Linda Brown through my own efforts had me delighted because of the interesting facts I found out and the knowledge about the influence this person had on the education I am currently enjoying.My quest for discovery had me going through many sources of information and soon enough I found out the brilliance that was inherent with a great person – Linda Brown. Linda Brown was like me during her early educational years. She is the daughter of Reverend Oliver Leon Brown from Topeka, Kansas. (Harcourt, 2001) Like many of us, Linda had a school just right beside where she lived but she was not allowed to attend classes in this school because she was black.
Her father, Reverend Brown, even remarked, “Why? Why should my child walk four miles when there is a school only four blocks away?’…`Why should I take time to explain to my daughter that she can’t attend school with her neighborhood playmates because she is black?'” (Reeder, 2006) I was pained to initially discover the situation of Linda and how she was forced to walk “long distances to catch a bus that would take her to a school even farther away.” (Harcourt, 2001) Now, I enjoy attending school in an institution that is just a stones-throw away from where I live and I cannot begin to comprehend the inconveniences that one child had to go through just to have a decent education. This situation was perennial in the 1950’s because like other black children, Linda was not allowed to attend schools where white children were being educated. I was inflamed to know that this kind of segregation existed back then so I was prompted to do more research on Linda and I was amazed at the wealth of information that I found.It turns out, that because of the situation that Linda was in, her family, along with twelve other families were encouraged by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Children (NAACP) “to try to enroll their children in neighborhood white schools, with the expectation that they would be rejected.” (School, 2001) I was infuriated at the prospect that education should be denied to children simply because they were of a different color. When Linda and the other children from the twelve other families were rejected by these white schools, “the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education in Topeka.” (School, 2001) The lawsuit was then called “Brown Vs.
The Board of Education” because of the twelve other families included in the lawsuit, the ‘Brown’ family name was first, alphabetically. (School, 2001) In the lawsuit “the refusals were then used as evidence, or proof, in what became a class-action lawsuit. A class-action lawsuit is one in which many people take part together.” (Harcourt, 2001) At his point in my data gathering I was becoming more and more aggravated by what these children had to go through just to get a decent and convenient education. I was disconsolate that even children had to become victims of such inequality and discrimination which stemmed from centuries of injustice and slavery. I was excited at how the case would turn out and deep inside me wanted it to turn out in favor of Linda and the other families who were put through this ordeal.
More disappointment was to come from my research. I later found out that the state courts ruled in favor of the schools and against the families who filed the lawsuit. “The state courts stated that by treating the African American students like that now, they would better accept when they were treated like that when they were older.” (Thinkquest, 2006) I was indignant at this knowledge and at the same time, somber, because I could not understand how state laws could be so insensitive to the best interests of the children during that time. Reading this particular piece of information, I felt that the courts were actually planning on mistreating blacks later in life which is why they assumed that putting black children in separate schools would prepare them for the mistreatment that they would experience later in life. I felt dejected at how immature and unfair courts could have been during Linda’s time.
I could not stop at what I had learned because I felt that this should not end that way and that there was a better ending to this tale of injustice. I was right.“After losing the case in the state courts, the NAACP decided to take the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
They appealed to the Supreme Court on October 1, 1951.” (Thinkquest, 2006) I was exuberant to know that the Brown lawyers had not been discouraged by the state court decisions and that they pursued the case to the highest court of the land. I felt quite ecstatic that the case had seemed to be going somewhere at this point of my research. This was a high point for me but I knew that this was not going to be very easy and sure enough, the case dragged on for the next three years. Looking at the justice system during this period made me sullen and almost hopeless that a case of such profile could take so long.
I felt that by the time the case was over, the plaintiffs would not enjoy the results. On one hand, I also felt moved by how the families pursued the case not only for their own children by more importantly for other black children in the future. The case was surely headed for a fairy tale ending, I expected.The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education was unanimous — the doctrine of “separate-but-equal” was inherently unconstitutional. Delivering the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren asserted that “segregated schools are not equal and cannot be made equal, and hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. This landmark ruling began our nation’s long journey toward school desegregation.
” (School, 2001) I was extremely rapturous to find out that this was how the case turned out to be. It was something for me to know that someone had been fighting for a better educational situation for black children and another gleeful discovery that the fight had actually turned out in favor of fairness, justice, and equal rights for both black children and white children. I can sympathize with Linda and her father in their journey towards educational equality and I was with them in this endeavor. This discovery opened up for me a new perspective on the kind of education that I am now enjoying. I would not be enjoying full convenience in my academic life now if not for the efforts of the Browns and the other families who stood up and made their voice heard in the best interest of the children. Other new realizations that I had were that the educational system was not as just as it is today; I realized that education in the 1950s was more than just an academic ordeal but a racist ordeal as well.
I am quite elated to know that, “Linda Brown is now married and known as Linda Brown Thompson. She and her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, give talks at colleges and other locations. They want others to know how important the case was.” (Harcourt, 2001) I understand fully why they want to convey their experiences and their learnings to the younger generations of today, especially the black children of America, so that nobody will forget what it took for them to fight for desegregation to ensure that education is not limited only to the whites but is equally enjoyed by the blacks in all its conveniences and benefits. Thinking about the Browns and the other families who fought for this cause makes me proud of my heritage and gives me a brand new sense of dignity and integrity in my pursuit of one day becoming a productive and noble member of the community that I am in.ReferencesHarcourt, (2001). Linda Brown . Retrieved July 11, 2010, from http://www.
Harcourt, 2001school.com/activity/biographies/brown/Reeder, J. (2006). Linda Brown Thompson. Retrieved July 11, 2010, from http://web.
(2001). Linda Brown Thompson. Retrieved July 11, 2010, from http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/innovators/brown.
htmlThinkquest, . (2006). Brown Vs.
The Board of Education. Retrieved July 11, 2010, from http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112391/brown_v__board_of_education.htm