WOW Gal Angel
  Linda Brown Thompson

When Linda Brown Thompson was just 9 years old, she bravely stood up to the type of segregation which was being enforced at her neighbourhood school which changed the course of American history.

Because of Linda’s bravery and with her father’s persistence, the Supreme Court struck down a longstanding segregation ruling in all American public schools.

Now that they could get into these schools it opened the way for young people to enter professions that they never would have thought possible.

Linda was born on February 20, 1943 in Topeka, Kansas. At the beginning of grade three her father took her to register for the new school year, but the school refused, saying she had to go to the all-black school across town. 

All the other neighbourhood kids and her closest friends were able to attend, but Linda Brown would have to take a long walk and then go on a two-mile bus trip across town

The walk, as Linda tells it, was a big undertaking for such a young child.  “I had to go several blocks then cut through the railroad yards, across a busy street and then catch the school bus to go a couple of more miles to the all-black school. At times I was frightened, and the winters were so harsh that I remember the tears freezing to my face. Occasionally it was too much for me to take and I’d run back home. “

She soon became the focus of attention for many people in the country. Most people were upset by this kind of segregation.

Linda talks of her experience...

Being in the spotlight wasn’t easy for Linda and she had to overcome her shyness and a tendency to quietly stay in the background. By the time she was attending middle school, journalists were relentlessly checking up on her and reporting on her grades (which were great).

 “I was kind of afraid at first. I didn’t talk about it very much, I guess, because I was afraid it would get back to someone who would make trouble.”

Later, as her confidence grew, she would become a regular speaker travelling throughout the country sharing her experiences and inspiring others to stand up for what they believed in. Linda was also a talented pianist and gave piano lessons to some of the neighborhood children. 

Linda Brown Thompson passed away on March 25, 2018 at the age of 76.

Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer had this to say about the amazing difference she made to the history of the United States. “Sixty-four years ago, a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America. Linda 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.”


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