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An Evening With Cheryl Brown and John Stokes

Brown v. Board of Education Originators/Civil Rights Activists

Cheryl Brown is one of three daughters of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, who, along with 12 other parents led by the NAACP, filed suit against the local Board of Education on behalf of their children in the historic case, Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, et. al.…

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Cheryl Brown is one of three daughters of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, who, along with 12 other parents led by the NAACP, filed suit against the local Board of Education on behalf of their children in the historic case, Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, et. al. Upon appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the case became the lead among five other legal challenges; Oliver Brown died in 1961 before knowing the impact of this landmark US Supreme Court decision.

Cheryl has been a sixth grade teacher, university guest lecturer, school guidance counselor, state educational administrator and is currently President and CEO of The Brown Foundation. She has been a member of numerous professional and civic organizations, and presently serves on several local, state and national boards. She is past chair of Women Work, a national network that represented some 15 million women nationwide who were seeking career assistance and employment in non-traditional fields.

Cheryl established The Brown Foundation in 1988 along with her co-worker, Jerry Jones. In 1990 the Foundation worked with the United States Congress to develop legislation, resulting in the establishment of the Brown v. Board of Education National Park. The Park opened in 2004 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision. It is located in Topeka at the site of one of the four formerly segregated African American schools. This was also the elementary school attended by their mother, two of the Brown sisters, Linda and Terry, and the school at which Cheryl began her teaching career.

On April 23, 1951, John A. Stokes helped to organize, strategize, plan and lead a student strike for better conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, a strike that made Stokes a plaintiff in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education and helped change life in the US forever.

While serving as an educator in Baltimore, Stokes received many awards from the mayor, governor and others due to his ability to bring the inner city students’ achievement levels far above the norm. Many of these students ended up becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers, and productive citizens.

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