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

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

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Description (Brief)
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, the Civil Rights activist who assisted the students in the desegragtion attempt at Central High School,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.
Object Name
Object Type
Main Dress
date made
Brown, Minnijean
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
shoulder: 36.7 cm; 14 7/16 in
zipper: 29.2 cm; 11 1/2 in
waist to hem: 61.5 cm; 24 7/32 in
bust: 43.5 cm; 17 1/8 in
waist: 36 cm; 14 3/16 in
overall; overall, mounted: 38 3/4 in x 18 in x 18 in; 98.425 cm x 45.72 cm x 45.72 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Minnijean Brown Trickey
Civil Rights Movement
Little Rock Integration Crisis
Spingarn Medal Award Ceremony
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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