The names are Sarah Bulah, Spottswood Boiling, Oliver Brown, Harry Briggs, Barbara Rose Johns and Linda Brown.
From 1949 to 1951 these names represented countless African-American families, parents, and students at the heart of five separate school desegregation cases in Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, Kansas and the District of Columbia. They were the voices of an outcry for justice within the African-American community. In 1952 these cases, initiated with the help of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, headed by Thurgood Marshall, were consolidated by the U.S. Supreme Court under the name Brown v. Board of Education. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, overturning the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, establishing the doctrine “separate but equal.” As we revisit the historic ruling of Brown v. Board of Education during the 58th year anniversary, many are evaluating how we have progressed since 1954.