I wanted to write something about Linda Brown, the ‘Brown’ in Brown v. Board.
I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration that the world we exist in today is because, in no small part, to Brown v. Board.
If you are not Black, I don’t think you understand what this case meant to the Black community.
I know what it meant, because I was a beneficiary.
My mother, and all her sisters, were educated, high achieving women. They majored in a variety of subjects, including chemistry. They graduated with honors across the board.
When they graduated, there were two career paths open for them:
Teacher or Social Worker
If you were really good in science, maybe a nurse, and the best job open would be at a VA facility.
My father, who had a degree in math, and scored in the top 1% of all CPA test takers when he took the exam..
Could never get an accounting job. Not even a position with the government, with the IRS.
So, he wound up working at the local VA hospital, where he worked up and ultimately ran his department.
I tell my own family’s story because I want to count ourselves among not the thousands, but millions of “Negro” families, just like mine.
These people were educated. These people were qualified. These people were there with bright minds.
But, the doors weren’t just shut, they were bolted.
I don’t think young people grasp the world before Brown.
When we say that there were PhD’s in the Post Office – we LITERALLY mean that routinely, you could find a PhD working in the Post Office, because these people had to eat and feed their families, and the Post Office was a means to that.
All Black High Schools routinely had some of the most educated staff, because people with Masters and PhD’s, who couldn’t get jobs in their field, wound up teaching.
Today’s youth of asking them..’what kind of a career do you want?’
“Are you going to do an internship?”
” Are you going to spend time abroad?”
Are you kidding me?
The world changed because of Brown v Board. It is LITERALLY the foundation for every expansion of inclusion that this society has seen for the past 50 years.
Is the world perfect?
Of course not.
But, I don’t have to go multi-generations to see directly in my own family how the world has changed.
So, thank you, Ms. Brown.
For millions like me, and millions to follow that have opportunities that your parents only dreamed for you when they decided to participate in the lawsuit.