Last Surviving Brown v. Board Plaintiff Dies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The last surviving plaintiff in Topeka's landmark Brown v. Board of Education case has died at 88.

Zelma Henderson died Tuesday in Topeka, six weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She grew up in western Kansas, where she attended school and socialized with whites before moving to more segregated Topeka.

Her children attended an all-black school that was 10 blocks farther away from their home than a whites-only school. In 1950 she signed onto the litigation on behalf of her children.

Cheryl Brown Henderson, the daughter of plaintiff Oliver Brown and president of the Brown Foundation, said Zelma Henderson was an inspiration during the 14-year push to open the Brown v. Board National Historic Site.

Zelma Henderson's funeral is planned for 1 p.m. Tuesday at St. John's AME Church in Topeka.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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