Esther Brown, Bibliographic Essay

Primary Sources:

The records of the NAACP in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. contain the extensive correspondence between Esther Brown and NAACP national staff members as well as copies of correspondence with Carl Johnson, Elisha Scott and other participants in the Webb v. School District 90 Case and the Brown v. Board of Education Topeka case. The transcript of the Commissioner’s Hearing in the Web case is located at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, Kansas along with the official court decision.  The Kansas Call covered the Web case extensively between 1947 and 1949 and copies of The Call are available on microfilm at the Downton Kansas City Public Library. Paul Brown’s “Memorandum” in which he describes his wife’s role in the Webb case, as well as oral interviews with participants are in the archives of the Johnson County Museum in Olathe, Kansas.  The papers of Richard Kluger held at Yale University contain unpublished interviews with Esther Brown and copies are available on request through the library.  Additionally, the National Archives at College Park Maryland holds the WPA Investigation of Esther Swirk Brown as well as the FBI reports that reference it. Unfortunately, the FBI report on Paul Brown has been destroyed.

Secondary Sources:

A brief discussion of the Webb case is found in Jean Van Delinder’s Struggles Before Brown, (Boulder: Paradigm Books, 2008). Richard Kluger’s, Simple Justice, (New York: Vintage Books, 2004) is a comprehensive discussion of the five cases that combined to become Brown v. Board of Education. Hugh Speer discussed Esther Brown as well as his experience as an expert witness in the Brown case in, Case of the Century, (Kansas City, MO: Self-published, 1968). Paul Wilson, one of the lawyers for the State of Kansas provides his perspective in A Time to Lose: Representing Kansas in Brown V. Board of Education (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1995).