Linda Brown Thompson, who as a child living in Topeka, Kansas, was in the middle of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation, has died. She was 76.
Brown's death was confirmed by her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson. Their father, Rev. Oliver Brown, sued the Topeka school district when Linda Brown was a third grader, after she was denied admission to an all-white elementary school only five blocks away from their home; the all-black school was 20 blocks away. The NAACP took up Brown's case, and it was combined with several other school segregation lawsuits into Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that school segregation was unconstitutional, and struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine.
In a statement, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) said that Brown's life "reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world."