FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joint Statement from Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia on the Passing of Linda Brown
“Often, our children show us the way forward. Youth served as inspirational leaders this past weekend, as they marched – by the hundreds of thousands – in support of school safety and sensible gun reforms. Nearly 70 years ago, Oliver Brown attempted to enroll his daughter, Linda, in a Kansas elementary school. Linda Brown was African-American, but the school she sought to attend was for white students only, and the school refused to admit her. In an act of amazing courage, young Linda Brown became the brave face of the movement to integrate America’s schools – a fight that eventually resulted in the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court held that separate schools are inherently unequal.
“The struggle continues to this day. While the Brown decision ended legally-sanctioned school segregation, the vestiges of that segregated system persist today. The Board of Regents has long held the view that educational equity is paramount. In 1966, respected scholar and psychologist, Dr. Kenneth Clark, became the first African-American elected to the Board of Regents, where he served for twenty years. Through his groundbreaking research, Dr. Clark helped build the foundation on which Brown was premised. The Regents’ commitment to educational equity continues to drive our work to this day through our Every Student Succeeds Act plan, My Brother’s Keeper and other efforts.
“Today, we mourn the loss of Linda Brown, a young girl who took a principled stand against the forces of injustice. But she serves as a role model for today’s youth as they write the next chapter in our nation’s great history. And her memory emboldens us as we continue to fight for an education system that is truly equitable for every child. That is the enduring legacy of Linda Brown.”
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