Linda Brown was not always at ease with the attention thrust on her as a figure in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision ending school segregation.

Lifelong friend Carolyn Campbell shared that perspective after learning that Brown, 75, died Sunday. Linda was quiet,″ Carolyn remarked. “It was difficult for Linda to be pushed into the spotlight at a young age.″ …

The name given to the case heard by the Supreme Court consolidated five separate cases involving segregation in public schools, according to an account written for uscourts.gov, which went on to stipulate that “while the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools.” …

Thurgood Marshall, who went on to become a Supreme Court justice, argued before the high court, which heard the case a second time after Earl Warren had become chief justice and later wrote the court’s opinion following its unanimous decision, stipulating that “separate but equal″ was a doctrine that had no place in public education.

While that synopsis provides only a slight overview of the benchmark ruling, it does not provide insight into the life of Linda Brown, one of three children born to the late Rev. Oliver Brown, who became the lead plaintiff in the Brown v. Board case following his attempt in 1951 to enroll Linda in the all-white Sumner Elementary School near the family’s home. Linda was instead placed at Monroe School, which along with Buchanan, McKinley and Washington were segregated and designated for black students. …

The significance of the landmark court case, in which the Brown name happened to be applied, was an achievement Linda lectured on, along with other family members. While the civil rights breakthrough will be recognized as part of her legacy, it does not come close to defining the scope of the case heard by the Supreme Court, nor does it come close to portraying the life of Linda Brown.

Nonetheless, the Topeka community and the entire country should be grateful for the sacrifice, the determination and the activism Linda Brown dedicated to the quality of life and the principles of freedom.

— GateHouse Kansas