The News Service
Year-long symposium begins Dec. 3
Events will observe 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
Brown University will present The Promise and the Legacy: Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education, a year-long symposium examining the impact of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision. The symposium will open Dec. 3, 2003, with a panel discussion at 6:45 p.m. and a keynote address by Professor Charles Ogletree of the Harvard Law School at 8 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching. This event is free and open to the public.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It has been nearly 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state-sponsored segregation of America’s public schools in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
Segregation was mandated in 17 states and allowed in four more and the District of Columbia – effectively separating whites from blacks in public facilities and leaving some 11.5 million public schoolchildren in segregated classrooms – until May 17, 1954, when Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote on behalf of the unanimous court, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Brown v. Board of Education raised the hopes of civil rights supporters, declaring the Jim Crow system of segregation to be unconstitutional and offering the promise of educational equality to millions of African-American children. Brown University will commemorate the 50th anniversary of this milestone with a year-long symposium, The Promise and the Legacy: Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education. For the inaugural sessions, the University will present a panel discussion and a keynote address by Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2003, in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.
The program, sponsored by the Wayland Collegium, will open at 6:45 p.m. with “Personal Reflections on the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education,” a panel discussion featuring William E. Cox, president and managing editor of Black Issues in Higher Education; Beverly E. Ledbetter, vice president and general counsel of Brown University; and Naeema Nuriddin, a Providence public school teacher.
At 8 p.m. Ogletree will speak on “All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on Brown’s Legacy.” A prominent legal theorist and Constitutional scholar, Ogletree is the author of the forthcoming All Deliberate Speed, a meditation on Brown v. Board of Education that will be published in 2004 by Norton. He is also known for his many books, articles and commentaries on timely, critical and controversial issues such as Anita Hill and Rodney King. Ogletree was recently named by the American Bar Association to chair its Brown v. Board of Education Commission, and he co-chairs the Reparations Coordinating Committee. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.
The symposium will continue at Brown throughout 2004 with events organized by students and faculty to examine the history, legacy and continued significance of this landmark legal decision. Future programs will look back at the historical context of the decision and the promise it held; how it was implemented and how it shaped the course of education during the last five decades; where the struggle for equality stands today; and the unfinished agenda of Brown v. Board of Education and its implications for the next 50 years.
For more information on the Dec. 3 events, call (401) 863-7034. For information on future symposium events as they are announced, visit http://k12.brown.edu/brownvboard/.