NEW YORK, March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC mourns the passing of Linda Brown. She was the subject of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision 64 years ago that ended school desegregation. An AJC amicus brief was influential in the landmark ruling.
In the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren cited an AJC-sponsored study by Professor Kenneth Clark on the harmful impact of school segregation on minority children. The court ruled that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that no citizen can be denied equal protection under the law.
"We look at that contribution to American society with great pride, indeed as one of the most important things AJC has ever done," said AJC CEO David Harris.
For decades before the amicus filing in the 1954 case, AJC had already been on the frontlines in the battle for civil rights, working for equality through legislation and public information campaigns.
"That landmark case changed the social and political fabric of our country," said Harris. "Jim Crow's legal regime is long since dead and buried, but, despite much progress, the lingering effects of legalized segregation, and the racial bias giving rise to it, are not. That remains unfinished and pressing business, which we as a nation must continue to address."
In recent years, AJC's Kansas City regional office has maintained contact with the Brown family, co-sponsoring programs with the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research.
Brown was an elementary school student in Topeka, Kansas, when her father, the Rev. Oliver L. Brown, initiated the case that bears his family's name after an all-white school blocked her request to attend.
"Looking back on Brown v. Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land," Linda Brown said in a 1985 PBS interview. "I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second-class citizenship."
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee