Memories of Brown vs. Board of Education
By Susan Wilson
Kansas City, MO – Last week, one of the last surviving parents who brought the Brown vs. Board of education case died in Topeka. Zelma Henderson's children were not allowed to attend their neighborhood school, because it was white's only. Her children had to walk 10 blocks farther to an all-black school. The class action lawsuit that Henderson participated in challenged the notion of separate but equal schools and established that public education was a right that must be provided on equal terms.
Cheryl Brown Henderson is the daughter of the historic lawsuit's lead plaintiff Oliver Brown. She says that Zelma Henderson more recently inspired the 14-year process to restore the Monroe School -one of Topeka's original black-only elementary schools. It's now a Brown vs. Board of Education Historic Site. KCUR's Susan Wilson spoke to Cheryl Brown Henderson over the phone this week.