Minnijean Brown Trickey's 1959 High School Graduation Dress

Minnijean Brown Trickey's 1959 High School Graduation Dress

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Description (Brief)
Despite disruption resulting from the suspension from Central High School and the later closure of all of Little Rock’s public schools to avoid integration, Minnijean Brown graduated on schedule in 1959 from New Lincoln School in New York City. New Lincoln School was a private, integrated school from 1948-1988, known for its progressive educational methods. While Minnijean had to move away from home to complete high school after the expulsion, the students remaining at Central High School and other public Little Rock schools had their formal education disrupted during the 1958-59 school year while several politicians fought unsuccessfully to prevent school desegregation by closing public schools.
This tea length white dress has a sheer white flocked floral pattern layer over a plain white underdress. The short sleeves are sheer, the skirt full, and the bodice fitted with a zipper and buttons on the back. Minnijean designed this dress herself, specifically for her graduation and gave her sketches to her sponsor, Mamie Phipps Clark. The dress was made by a local NY seamstress employed by Mamie Clark and presented as a graduation gift to Minnijean. According to Minnijean, the dress fit perfectly and helped boost her confidence; her graduation photograph was published by several New York papers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Main Dress
date made
used date
Brown, Minnijean
Brown, Minnijean
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
part, sleeve: 15 cm; 5 29/32 in
part, shoulder: 33.5 cm; 13 3/16 in
part, back zipper: 35 cm; 13 25/32 in
part, waist to hem from seam: 69.4 cm; 27 5/16 in
part, bust: 44.5 cm; 17 17/32 in
part, waist: 35.5 cm; 13 31/32 in
overall, mounted: 40 in x 26 in x 24 in; 101.6 cm x 66.04 cm x 60.96 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Minnijean Brown Trickey
Civil Rights Movement
Little Rock Integration Crisis
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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