The Ruling Named For Linda Brown Died Long Before She Did

Linda Brown, whose name became representative of 1954’s landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education, is dead. She died this week at the age of 75, and was rightly mourned as an icon of the civil rights struggle.

Brown v. Board of Education, however, died a long time ago.  In fact, it arrived in the world almost stillborn. Its fragile life was threatened and its tender body gutted almost as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the words, “separate but equal has no place” in public education.  

It’s easy to portray those who went after Brown as oafish, cross-burning Klansmen. It’s simple to lay the decision’s demise at the feet of the angry white housewives who surrounded, terrorized and screamed epithets at a 17-year-old who was just trying to go to school in…

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