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Brown@50 Events

To mark the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, from fall 2003 through fall 2004 the Howard University School of Law will conduct numerous activities concerning Brown v. Board of Education. Some of the confirmed activities are noted below.

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The role of Howard University and the School of Law in Brown v. Board of Education (pdf file)

October 2003

Oct. 7, 2003 Brown@50 Opening Convocation (event photos)

Keynote Speaker:  Barbara R. Arnwine, Executive Director of Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Nationally recognized speakers, legal scholars, educators, and other special guests will join the entire law school community at an opening convocation, symbolizing the official kickoff of Brown@50 activities at the Howard University School of Law.

Oct. 9, 2003 C. Clyde Ferguson Lecture (event photos)

Speaker: Leroy R. Hassell, Sr., Chief Justice, Virginia Supreme Court, Richmond, Virginia

Chief Justice Hassell is the first African American to be the Chief Judge of the highest court in Virginia, the location of one of the Brown cases. The Clarence Clyde Ferguson Lecture has been the law school's premier lecture for more than a decade.

Oct. 18, 2003 D.C. Humanities Council Program:  Charles Hamilton Houston: Paving the Road to Brown

From the DC Humanities webpage:  "A prelude to the 50th Anniversary celebration of Brown v. the Board of Education, this day-long symposium looks at the life, strategies, and legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston, known as the man who killed Jim Crow."

Oct. 30, 2003 Howard Law Journal

The Howard Law Journal will publish the first issue of its special volume on Brown@50, with essays and articles on Brown's impact over the decades. Featured authors include Laurence Nolan, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law; Michele Goodwin, Professor of Law, DePaul University Law School; Julian Bond, Chair of the Board of the NAACP; and Wendy Scott, Professor of Law, Tulane University. The issue will be rounded out with a winning essay selected from the Howard Law Journal Essay Contest held in April 2003

November 2003

Nov. 5, 2003 Noon Dean's Lecture Series (event photos)

Speaker: Professor Jean Stefancic, Derrick A. Bell Scholar and Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh, School of Law,

Part 1, "The Racial Double Helix:  Watson, Crick and Brown v. Board of Education."  (Part 2 will be presented on Nov. 6 by Prof. Richard Delgado (see below))

Nov. 6, 2003 4:30 pm Charles Hamilton Houston Inaugural Lecture (event photos)

Speaker: Professor Richard Delgado, Derrick A. Bell Fellow and Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh, School of Law

Part 2, "The Racial Double Helix:  Watson, Crick and Brown v. Board of Education." (Part 1 will be presented by Prof. Stefancic on Nov. 5 (see above))

Professor Delgado is one of the nation's most prolific scholars on critical race theory and the author of more than 15 books and numerous law review articles. In 1995 he won the Association of American Law Schools' Clyde Ferguson Award for outstanding law professor of color. His book, The Rodrigo Chronicles, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1995. In 1996, his book The Coming Race War, was the American Library Association's choice for Outstanding Academic Book. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.

December 2003

The December issue of the HUSL magazine, The Jurist, will focus on Brown@50 with special essays, articles, and photo spreads.

January 2004

January begins the series of panel discussions and town hall meetings that reflect on the meaning of Brown, and its relevance to today's civil rights agenda. There will be a National Student Town Hall meeting at the end of this month to consider the intergenerational implications of Brown.

January 21 The Lawyers Who Defeated Separate But Equal (event photos)

Five of the original lawyers who litigated or participated in the Brown case will offer their personal reflections on that historic period in American history.

Moderator: Dr. Genna Rae McNeil, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Lawyers

Hon. Robert L. Carter
Prof. Julian Dugas
Charles T. Duncan
Oliver W. Hill, Sr.
Hon. Louis Pollak

Wednesday, January 21, 2004, 5:30 p.m.
HUSL Moot Court Room, Houston Hall

Washington Post article:

Figures in Historic Lawsuit Recount Rights, Wrongs:
Forum Reunites Those Who Beat 'Separate but Equal'

By Judith Havemann
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 29, 2004; Page DZ03

February 2004

February 7, 2004 Law Day at Howard University School of Law

Special Session for High School Students

Local area high school students will converge on the campus of Howard Law to learn more about law school and the advantages of pursuing a legal career. Students will receive an overview of Brown v. Board of Education and hear a mock appellate argument. Registration required.

February 20-21  Race & Rights: Symposium and Town Hall Meeting -- Cosponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the NAACP, and the Howard University School of Law


Race and Rights: Brown v. Board of Education and the Problems of Segregation, Desegregation and Resegregation in the United States of America

Town Hall Meeting Moderator: Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jessie Clemenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

This conference is presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian Exhibition, "Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education."   The conference will be held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Behring Center, in Washington, DC. Conference sessions will include panels on segregation and White privilege, black migration and the shifting political and cultural landscape. The conference will conclude with a Town Hall Meeting on "An Intergenerational Conversation About Brown v. Board of Education" which will explore the multi-generational impact of the Brown decision after 1954 and contining into the future.

February 26-28 The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education: Reflections of the Last 50 Years (part I) (event photos)

Howard Law/Yale Law Joint Conference, Washington, DC 

Photos of the HUSL portion of the conference

Photos of Judge Gregory and the IIPSJ reception

Videotape of parts of conference

Washington Post Article

Looking to Brown For Lessons Today:
Students Find Inspiration for Action In Program on Desegregation Ruling

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 29, 2004; Page C03

Register online
Conference General Website

HUSL Schedule (html) (download schedule)
Yale Schedule

Thursday Feb. 26, 7:00 pm, Keynote Address: Vernon Jordan, Esq., Lazard Freres and Company   Photos

Friday Feb. 27, 4:30 pm, Keynote Address: Hon. Roger Gregory, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

Friday Feb. 27, 5:30 pm, Reception:  Sponsored by the HUSL Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice with special honoree, the law firm of Finnegan, Henderson Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP.  Photos

This two part joint conference opens at Howard University School of Law with an overview of "Brown 101." It continues with conversations about Bolling v. Sharpe with high school students, educators, Congressional members, and others, in a series of panel discussions including, “Moving from Segregation to Integration,” “A Look at Public Schools Around the Nation,” and “The Fallout from the Supreme Court’s Ruling in the Michigan Case.”

Howard Law School Dean Kurt Schmoke and Yale Law School Dean Anthony Kronman will welcome conference participants.

The Yale part of the conference occurs from Thursday, April 1, 2004 through Saturday, April, 3, 2004 .

A registration fee of $15 is required for all attendees who are not Howard law students.

March 2004

March 5 Howard University Charter Celebration honoring the Brown v. Board legal team.

March 25  James Madison Nabrit, Jr. Day

sponsored by Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP

Inaugural Nabrit Lecture Speaker, Prof. Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law Professor

Where:  Howard U. School of Law Moot Court Room (Houston Hall)
Time:  4:30
Free and open to the public

Opening Remarks by James M. Nabrit, III.

Reception in Holy Cross Hall Foyer following the speech

James M. Nabrit filed the case of Bolling v. Sharpe in the U.S. District Court in 1951. The case was later consolidated with other cases and became known as the companion case to Brown. Nabrit went on to become president of Howard University and Dean of the Law School.

The national law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP is sponsoring the James M. Nabrit Inaugural Lecture and other events in his honor including a private conversation between Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court and Howard law students and faculty.

April 2004

April 1-3 The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education: Reflections of the Last 50 Years (part II)

Howard Law/Yale Law Joint Conference, New Haven CT 

Videotape of Yale parts of conference

Yale information
Yale registration
Panel descriptions

The conversation begun in February at Howard continues at Yale. A series of panel discussions, including “Equal but Separate, and “Affirmative Action” will be offered. Registration required.

Opening Keynote Speaker: Elaine Jones, Director NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

April 3, 2004  National Bar Association and Howard University School of Law Joint Symposium

Members from the National Bar Association were significantly involved in the Brown litigation. This program will examine the Brown strategy and consider present litigation tactics and approaches used in civil rights litigation, particularly as it relates to discrimination in education. Continuing Legal Education credits available.

9:30 am to 1:30 pm, Howard U. School of Law Moot Court Room, Houston Hall

Download an rtf file of the program

May 2004

May 17  Opening of Exhibit “Marching Towards Justice: The History of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”

Photos of opening ceremony

Keynote Speaker: Hon. Damon J. Keith, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

Program will open at 11:00 am outside the HUSL Law Library.  Due to the limited capacity of the space, attendance at the opening ceremony will be by invitation only.

This award-winning exhibit will be on display at the Howard University School of Law Library beginning on May 17, 2004 through the end of July 2004. The exhibit chronicles the life of the African Americans from 1619 until 1957, three years after the Brown decision. The exhibit is on loan from the Honorable Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History.

The Marching Toward Justice exhibit was created by the Keith Collection to inform the public about the fundamental importance of the 14th Amendment and our nation's ongoing quest to realize the high ideals of the Declaration of Independence.  Marching Toward Justice tells the story of our government's promotion of justice and equality for some, while condoning the enslavement of others.  The philosophy of "justice and equality for all" is the founding principle of the nation.  But in practice, African Americans were long denied due process and equal protection under the law.  The question of how the legal status of African Americans and the practice of slavery fit into the democratic ideals of the Constitution remains a critical issue of historical as well as contemporary significance.

The Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History at Wayne State University was created to meet the need for a central repository for the nation's African-American legal history.  The collection, initiated by Wayne State University Law School Professor Emeritus Edward J. Littlejohn, is dedicated to recording the history of African American lawyers and judges.

May 16 at 8:00 p.m. with encore broadcast on May 20 at 6:00 pm -- Part I: Howard Law & The Struggle For Justice
The first of the three part series looks back to the days before brown and to the role that Howard University and it's Law School played in the struggle for justice.

May 17, 2004:  Brown v. Board of Education turns 50.

May 23 at 8:00 pm with encore broadcast on May 27 at 6:00 pm -- Part II: No Fight, No Victory
Focuses on the years just before the Brown decision of May 17, 1954 and on the stories of those who determined to battle against the forces of racial prejudice and persecution, with particular attention to the case of Briggs v. Elliot and the town of Summerton, South Carolina.

May 30 at 8:00 pm with encore broadcast on June 3 at 6:00 pm -- Part III:  After Brown
In the last segment of the three part series, we look at the world after Brown and how the decision began to force Americans to grapple with race -- with the legacies of oppression and prejudice that remain with us even today.

Segments feature interviews with:

Prof. Julian Dugas, Howard Law School & Brown legal team;
Prof. J. Clay Smith, Howard Law School;
Judge Robert Carter, Brown legal team;
Ernest Green;
Little Rock Nine;
H. Patrick Swygert, President Howard University;
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) Chair, Congressional Black Caucus and Howard alumn;
Harolyn Boulware, daughter of Harold Boulware, Civil Rights Attorney;
Denia Stukes Hightower, daughter of Briggs plaintiff & petitioner;
Prof. Russell Adams, Howard University;
Adam Clayton Powell, III, son of Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, III;
Prof. Okianer Christian-Dark, Howard Law School;
Kurt Schmoke, Dean of Howard Law School, Howard alum and former Mayor of Baltimore, MD;
Prof. Warner Lawson, Howard Law School;
Jack Houston, cousin of Charles Hamilton Houston, Brown legal team.

June/July 2004

Exhibit: The "Marching Toward Justice" exhibit will remain at Howard University School of Law and is open to the public.

June 2 Howard University Television, WHUT-PBS Channel 32 in Washington, DC, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education with the broadcast of the third of three documentaries: "Howard Law and the Brown Decision" The @Howard special three-part series focus on the Howard University Law School Faculty and Alumni who were architects of the various Brown v. Board of Education cases.

October 2004

October 5, 2004 4:00 pm  Clarence Clyde Ferguson Lecture

HUSL is pleased to have Prof. Lani Guinier, Harvard Law School, as the honored speaker for the 2004 C.Clyde Ferguson Lecture.  The title of her speech is “The Miner’s Canary.”  A reception will follow the lecture.

Other activities

Brown Sourcebook: Howard University School of Law is authoring a resource book that will include information on the five major school segregation cases, including short biographies of key individuals who contributed to the legal strategies, and personal reflections of those individuals who were personally impacted by the decisions. The book will also offer a chronology of Howard University's key role in the legal strategies behind the entire movement.

Writing Competition: The Howard Law Journal sponsored a writing competition for D.C. high school students. These students wrote 1000 word essays on the impact of the Brown decision.