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Linda Brown, centre of civil rights battle, dies aged 76

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Linda Brown, centre of civil rights battle, dies aged 76

Linda Brown
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Linda Brown, the US schoolgirl at the centre of a landmark civil rights ruling, has died aged 76.

Sue to a "separate but equal" segregation policy, Linda was required to travel a significant distance to school.

In 1950, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked the parents of several African-American children to try to enroll their children at local schools. Linda's father, Oliver, was among them.

As expected Linda, who was in the third grade, was barred from attending the all-white Sumner Elementary in Topeka, Kansas.

A lawsuit was filed in 1954 for 13 families, from different states, to challenge the segregation policy which was based on a precedent established in 1896 (Plessy v. Ferguson) which sanctioned racial division.

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the families and concluded that the policy robbed African-American children of a richer, fairer educational experience.

By the time of the ruling Linda Brown was in junior high, a level which was not segregated. Five years later the family moved to Springfield, Missouri and Linda went on to attend Washburn and Kansas State universities. She worked as an educational consultant and a speaker.

Governor of Kansas, Jeff Colyer, paid tribute saying: "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."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called her a "A hero for our nation!"