Dress worn by Minnijean Brown in 1958 for the Spingarn Medal Award Ceremony

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 9/2/2020

This yellow, floral patterned tea length patterned dress was worn by Minnijean Brown during the Spingarn Award Ceremony in 1958. The Spingarn Medal is a gold medal that has been awarded annually since 1915 by the NAACP. According to the NAACP, the purpose is “to call the attention of the American people to the existence of distinguished merit and achievement among Americans of African descent and secondly to serve as a reward for such achievement, and as a stimulus to the ambition of youth of color.” Usually only one medal is given out per year, but in 1958 Daisy Bates and each of the Little Rock Nine students became recipients. They received the medal “For their pioneer role in upholding the basic ideals of American democracy in the face of continuing harassment and constant threats of bodily injury.”In 1959, after her suspension from Central High, Minnijean transferred to New Lincoln in New York City and again wore this dress at a school dance. The dress has a fitted bodice with a scoop back and a zipper closure.

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