Remembering Linda Brown & Celebrating A Legend

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Brooklyn Legends family, it is an honor to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Linda Brown, the lead named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education – the 1954 landmark case which led to the outlawing of school segregation.

Linda Brown passed on Sunday, March 25, 2018.  She was 76 years old.  Her actions, and those of the other students represented in the case, charted a new course in America’s educational system.

In 1950, the NAACP asked a group of African-American parents, that included Linda’s father – Oliver Brown, to attempt to enroll their children in all-white schools with the expectation they would be turned away.  Mr. Brown honored this request and set out to place Linda, who was in 3rd grade, in Sumner Elementary School.  As anticipated, she was was not allowed to attend.  This action set the strategy for the civil rights group to file a lawsuit on behalf of the 13 families, who were from different states. Since Linda Brown’s name appeared at the top of the list of plaintiffs, the case was known as Brown v. Board of Education and would be argued before the United States Supreme Court.  The lead attorney working on behalf of the plaintiffs was future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

An important objective of Brown was to dismantle the precedent that was set in place by the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, which sanctioned the idea of “separate but equal” facilities for racial divisions.  When the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education, their decision disavowed the notion of “separate but equal” and concluded that segregated facilities deprived African-American children of a richer, and fairer, educational experience.

Life for Linda after the ruling  

When the Court reached its decision, Linda Brown was in junior high school student, which was a grade level that had been integrated before the Brown decision.  In 1959 the Brown family moved to Springfield, Missouri.  In 1961 Oliver Brown died and Mrs. Brown moved the girls back to Topeka, Kansas shortly thereafter. Linda Brown went on to attend Washburn and Kansas State universities.

To learn more about Linda Brown’s life and legacy, please follow this link.

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“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” he tweeted. “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.”
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer

Submitted with gratitude and appreciation.

Thank you Ms. Brown!

Monique

Strength for the Journey

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Dear Friends,

With this note comes my very best wishes as we embrace Spring – a time of renewal and rebirth.

As many of my family members, friends and colleagues recently reminded me, we will go through seasons when our days are filled with lighted hearted moments, as well as times when our days are so trying, the pain will shake us at our core.

During the joyous times I can come up with 1000 ways to celebrate all the good things I feel that I deserve; however it is during the challenging times I must work harder, and stand taller, as I look for just 1 strategy to help me weather the unknown.  Instinctively, I connect with my circle of wise women and sister-friends who will embrace me, and hold my hand until I am ready to face the world again.  Please do not be misled, healing does not take place in a vacuum.

So, I dedicate today’s post to every mother, grandmother, guardian, adopted mom, sister-friend, and countless caregivers who give us strength for our journey.  You are appreciated more than you will ever know.

To the world, you may not be a household name, but for me, your quiet achievements are legendary.  If you happen to live in Brooklyn (or are formerly from Brooklyn) you are a Brooklyn Legend.  And for me, you are royalty.

Fondly,

Monique

 

 

 

A Memorial Day Tribute

Dear Friends,

As we commemorate Memorial Day 2016, let’s take time out to honor the women and men who have served our country with dignity and distinction AND pay it forward by finding ways to show them our appreciation everyday.

I am pleased to share images from my Pinterest board created in honor of Memorial Day.

Fondly,
Monique

 

A Pledge To Honor & Cherish – A Memorial Day Tribute

Annual Flags-In ceremony in advance of Memorial Day - Arlington Cemetery

Honoring America’s Fallen – Baltimore Sun

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Staff Sargent and Son honor a fallen soldier – http://www.riley.army.mil

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – pbs.org

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President Obama places wreath at tomb of Unknown Soldier – military.com

Dear Readers,

Today we join our fellow Americans to celebrate Memorial Day.  Many community leaders and organizations have created special, commemorative programs to honor the veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoy.

Despite some outward appearances, Memorial Day is meant to be a solemn and reflective time for all Americans.  Of course there are many ways to observe this holiday.  Today’s post is not meant to diminish the family activities that will be held, but simply to serve as a reminder of the heavy price connected with the privileges we frequently take for granted.

As we prepare to pay tribute to the men and women who are no longer with us, I would also like to pay tribute to the veterans who served in recent wars, and now struggle to pick up their lives from where they left off.

For many, the transition has been wrought with many challenges such as: insufficient housing, inadequate health care, dwindling employment and rising costs of furthering their education.  Some of our veterans are now struggling to find their way.   As a nation we should feel embarrassed to learn that many veterans are homeless, while others face health challenges that will leave them wounded – physically, and emotionally – for years to come.

Our veterans were proud to serve our country, but were disillusioned when they try to re-enter society.  I do not claim to have the answer to what is documented as a growing problem, but I firmly believe the impetus to solve this problem starts with an honest dialogue that acknowledges the problem exists.  So tomorrow, when we greet each other with a cheerful “Happy Memorial Day” let’s take a moment to recognize that, for some, this sentiment is not fully recognized.  It is truly up to us to honor and cherish the veterans who are no longer with us and those who are.

To the brave women and men who have given their lives to protect America, we honor and cherish you.  To the brave women and men who return home, to take their rightful place in society, we salute you and cherish you for all that you have done.

Last year, I wrote an article on the origins of Memorial Day and the important role that African-American veterans paid in shaping this holiday.  The article is reprinted below for your convenience.

Happy Memorial Day!

Have a great week.
Monique

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Reflecting on Memorial Day 2013

On Monday, May 29th, Memorial Day was observed in the United States.  I was pleased to read so many tributes where the authors went to great lengths to make the distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Both observances are equally important.  However, it is my opinion that in the United   States we could do more to recognize the women and men who have died to protect the freedoms we enjoy.  Whenever I see and hear the words “Happy Memorial Day,” connected with a sale or other promotion, I feel a bit awkward and find the positioning to be insensitive; especially given the wars we are still involved with.  With so many other days to shop and save, I would like to see us become more mindful of everything we have to be thankful for.

There are two accounts of the origins of Memorial Day that I would like to share.  The first account comes from the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.  The second account comes from The Root and Black America Web.

Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to adorn the graves of the war dead with flowers.  Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30th of each year.  It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.  The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

photo obama lays wreath

Today, in the United States, Memorial Day is a federal holiday that occurs every year on the final Monday of May.  On this day we recognize the women and men who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Many of the rituals that make up Memorial Day were born out of Decoration Day which originated after the American Civil War as mentioned above.  The one major difference is that today we extend this tribute to Americans who have died in all wars.

The Root and Black America Web

According to Black America Web, African-American veterans were the first to celebrate our fallen soldiers.  David Blight, a History Professor at Yale University, credits African-American soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina with launching the first Decoration Day, in honor of the Union’s war dead on May 1, 1865.

After the Civil War ended, these soldiers went to places where they knew hundreds of their fellow service men, who were also prisoners of war, were buried in mass graves.  As a show of humanity these soldiers, many who were recently freed slaves, gave their fellow service men a proper burial.  After the burials were complete, they decorated the graves.  According to legend, this ritual took hold and was the beginning of the Memorial Day tributes we now see across the country.

The objective here is not to debate which account is more accurate but to simply point out the important contributions that people of African descent have made to shape our great nation.

We at Brooklyn Legends take great pride in saluting our fallen soldiers and thank them for all the sacrifices they have made.  It is our honor to pay tribute to them.

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In Loving Memory – Celebrating Brooklyn Centenarian Susannah Mushatt Jones

Dear Readers: The article featured here was originally posted in 2014 in honor of Ms. Susannah Mushatt Jones. Earlier today Ms. Jones made her transition just a few months shy of her 117th birthday…

Source: In Loving Memory – Celebrating Brooklyn Centenarian Susannah Mushatt Jones

Embracing Hope, Renewal and New Life

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Dear Readers,

As I write this, Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate Easter Sunday.  However, I pause to remember our sisters and brothers who, in many countries, are still persecuted for their beliefs.  How fortunate are we, in America, to have such great freedoms.

I was raised in a Christian home by maternal grandparents who were Catholic. As a rule, I was never allowed to be intolerant of my friends whose religious beliefs were different from mine.  That all important “rule” guides my behavior to this day.

Yes, I celebrate Easter with a glad heart and have come to view it as a personal time of hope, renewal and new life.  Yes, I have friends who do not celebrate Easter and I love them just the same.  Why would I do anything else?  At the end of the day, isn’t this what life is all about?

I came across a quote about Easter from Henry Knox Sherrill that I would like to share with you.

“The joyful news that He is risen, does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline and make the sacrifice.”

Let’s continue to encourage each other on our journey through life.

Peace and Blessings,

Monique

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Credits:
Quote – Henry Knox Sherrill