Plaintiff in Brown Case Dies
The last surviving Topeka, Kan., plaintiff in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case has died at 88. Zelma Henderson died May 20 in Topeka, of pancreatic cancer.
In 1950, she joined on behalf of her children the litigation challenging Topeka’s racially segregated schools. In all, 13 black parents took part in the federal court case.
The plaintiffs lost in U.S. District Court, but the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, along with similar cases from Virginia, South Carolina, and Delaware. They were consolidated by the court as Brown v. Board.
The high court’s unanimous ruling overturning school segregation came on May 17, 1954. It outlawed the “separate but equal” doctrine.
While Ms. Henderson was the last surviving Topeka plaintiff, some plaintiffs from other states whose cases were consolidated into Brown are still living.
Vol. 27, Issue 39, Page 5
Get 10 free stories, e-newsletters, and more!
- Multiple Special Services
- Maine Regional School Union No. 10, Dixfield, ME
- Head of School
- Saint James School, Montgomery, AL
- Multiple Positions
- Jersey City Public Schools, Jersey City, NJ
- Director of Operations (Spanish Fluency Required)
- Ascend Learning, Brooklyn, NY
- Executive Director, Charter Schools
- School District of Philadelphia, PA