During her life, Esther Brown fought for social justice.  In the 1960s, she organized the “Panel of American Women” to promote understanding among people of all races and religions. She remained active in fighting discrimination until her death in 1970.  (Photo courtesy Johnson County Museums)   One of the most influential people involved in the desegregation of South Park Elementary School was Esther Brown who lived in nearby Merriam. Esther Brown, a young white woman, had a strong commitment to equality for all people. When she found out about the situation in South Park, Mrs. Brown joined with black residents to challenge segregation in the school district.
   Esther Brown organized the boycott of the Walker School and tirelessly worked to raise
money and public awareness. She was also instrumental in putting together the lawsuit against the school district. In 1985, the City of Merriam, Kansas, dedicated a park to honor Esther Brown for her achievements in fighting segregation in South Park.  Brown Memorial Park, located at 51st Street and Booker Drive in Merriam, is a tribute to this remarkable woman.   (Photo courtesy Johnson County Museums)Despite threats and harassment, Esther Brown continued her fight for the desegregation of South Park Elementary School until black students were admitted to the school. After her success in South Park, Mrs. Brown helped organize the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education lawsuit that ended segregation in schools across the nation.
RETURN TO INTRO