The quest for civil rights for people of all races and economic backgrounds has been a fundamental part of U.S. history. Those who have worked directly in community organizing and empowerment, such as Dorothy Height, Marian Wright Edelman and Dolores Huerta, inspire us with their vision and strength of character. Then there are those who use the arts to create poignant messages on justice. Whether using music, literature or sculpture, figures like Joan Baez, June Jordan, Miriam Makeba, Augusta Savage and Alice Walker have imparted wisdom to last through the ages.
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Linda Brown, the child at the center of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case, has died. The case dismantled federal education laws that allowed segregated schools for black and white students, although Brown never got the chance to attend unsegregated school.
Irene Morgan was a civil rights activist who, a decade prior to Rosa Parks' landmark case, won her own U.S. Supreme Court Case in 'Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia,' which declared interstate transport racial segregation to be unconstitutional.
Legendary performer Nina Simone sang a mix of jazz, blues and folk music in the 1950s and '60s, later enjoying a career resurgence in the '80s. A staunch Civil Rights activist, she was known for tunes like "Mississippi Goddam," "Young, Gifted and Black" and "Four Women," among many others.