A Girl and a Dream
seven-Year-OLD LINDA Brown had to walk six blocks through a dangerous railroad yard to catch a bus. Then she had to ride for about a mile to get to Monroe School, where she attended third grade. Her journey began at 7:40 a.m. She finally entered her classroom at 9 a.m.
Another school, Sumner Elementary School, was much closer—less than four blocks from her home in Topeka, Kansas. But school officials would not allow Linda to attend the school in her neighborhood. That was because she was black, and Sumner School was for white students only. In 1950, the year Linda's story begins, junior and senior high schools in Kansas accepted both black and white students. Elementary schools, however, were segregated.
Linda's father, the Reverend Oliver Brown, decided to take action. One morning in early September 1950, he and Linda walked to Sumner School. When they got there, Linda waited outside while her father went to ask the principal if his little girl could attend Sumner, which was nearby, instead of Monroe, which was much farther away. The principal quickly denied the request. An angry Brown left the room and walked home with Linda.
For more than two centuries, a huge divide had separated blacks from whites in America. First brought to the country as slaves, blacks had labored in cotton fields