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February 20, 1943 - March 25, 2018
Linda Brown Thompson 75, of Topeka passed away March 25, 2018 at Lexington Park Nursing & Post-Acute Center. She was born February 20, 1943 in Topeka, Kansa, the first of three children born to Oliver and Leola Brown.
Linda's passion for children led her to become a Head Start teacher for several years. She went on to serve as Program Associate with the Brown Foundation where she assisted with the establishment of four libraries for preschool children. Within this role she created "Reading with Ms. Linda", where she read to children at preschool centers in Topeka and Lawrence. She was also an entrepreneur teaching private music lessons in piano at her company, Sharps & Flats Studio. She taught students of various age groups to play piano and to read music. Linda was an accomplished and dedicated pianist for all the choirs at St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Topeka. She provided musical accompaniment at the church for nearly 40 years. This was also a church pastored by her Father, the late Rev. Oliver Brown in the early 1950s. As a longstanding member of St. Mark's over the years she chaired several project committees and on occasions spoke at church programs, where she delivered litany's she had written.
As one of the children of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown for whom the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in Brown v. Board of Education is named, Linda both as a child and as an adult was an activist, who traveled the country lecturing about the history and significant of the civil rights milestone. The Topeka case involved 12 schools; 4 were segregated African American elementary schools and 8 were segregated schools for white children, where African American parents attempted to enroll their children. During the time of the court proceedings, Linda was attending Monroe and McKinley elementary schools. Though she grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, Linda was forced to walk across railroad tracks, take a bus and be shuttled miles to her grade school despite there being a school four blocks away from her home. On May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous ruling in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas. State-sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment and was therefor ruled unconstitutional.
In recognition of Brown v. Board of Education, Linda, her family, and others involved in the cases consolidated under Brown, were guest at the White House during the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
A Public celebration of Linda's life was held on Wednesday April 4, 2018 and a Private Funeral service was held on Thursday April 5, 2018. The Rev. Shirley D. Heermance, pastor of the St. Mark's A.M.E. Church, served as the Officiant and as the Eulogist.