Brown v. Board at 60: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Washburn University News Release

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Brown v. Board at 60: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Washburn Law's Center for Law and Government and the Washburn Law Journal are pleased to convene a symposium that explores in a critical manner what the Brown v. Board of Education decision has meant and what it will continue to mean looking forward. Distinguished experts will participate in three distinct plenary sessions:

  • The Life of Brown
  • Race and Education Today
  • Contemporary Race Issues: Confronting Inequality in the 21st Century 
The symposium will be held Thursday, February 27, 2014, at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center at SW 17th Street and SW Jewell Avenue on the Washburn University Campus (map). Free parking is available south and west of Bradbury Thompson.

Symposium Schedule
Thursday, February 27, 2014

8:30 a.m. – Registration

8:50 a.m. – Welcome
  • Thomas J. Romig, Dean and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law
  • Reginald Robinson, Director, Center for Law and Government and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law
  • Aaron K. Friess, Editor-in-Chief, Washburn Law Journal

9:00 a.m.
  • Cheryl Brown Henderson, Founding President, Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, The Legacy of Brown

9:45 a.m. – Panel 1: The Life of Brown
This panel will examine the history of the Brown v. Board litigation and the effort to desegregate Kansas public schools in the aftermath of the decision. Additional focus will be placed on the events surrounding the 1979 re-opening of the case.
  • Moderator (TBA)
  • Deborah L. Dandridge, Field Archivist and Curator, African American Experience Collections, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, The History of Brown v. Board
  • Chris Hansen, Retired; formerly Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union, Reopening Brown in the 1980s
  • The Honorable Dan Biles, Justice, Kansas Supreme Court, Personal Reflections
  • Joseph Zima, Retired; formerly School District Attorney, Topeka Unified School District 501, Personal Reflections

11:45 a.m. – Box Lunch (provided to registrants)

  • Jack Alexander, Retired; President-elect, Kansas Historical Foundation, Experiences as an African-American Student in Topeka During the 1950s

12:45 p.m. – Panel 2: Race and Education Today
This panel will address the current state of the U.S. educational system in light of the social, economic, and legal developments since Brown. Special focus will be placed on school funding issues; social and cultural factors that contribute to de facto school resegregation; and the Supreme Court's change in direction on desegregation issues, as seen in Missouri v. Jenkins, Parents Involved, and other cases.

Moderator (TBA)
Shirley A. Hill, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas, Historical Perspective of Social and Educational Race Issues
Preston Green, John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, Perpetuation of Educational Disparities After Brown
Abel A. Bartley, Director, Pan-African Studies Program, Clemson University, Desegregation in Jacksonville, Florida

2:30 p.m. – Break

2:45 p.m. – Panel 3: Contemporary Race Issues: Confronting Inequality in the 21st Century
After the death of Justice Thurgood Marshall, Elena Kagan, then a professor, wrote in the Texas Law Review that "in Justice Marshall's view, constitutional interpretation demanded . . . that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised and disadvantaged." This panel will examine recent decisions by the Supreme Court – on marriage, voting rights, employment discrimination, and affirmative action, among others – in an attempt to determine how the Roberts Court has embraced or rejected Justice Marshall's vision, and whether the current Court's approach to civil rights issues is an improvement on the Warren Court's approach in Brown or a regression from it.

  • Moderator (TBA)
  • Cedric Merlin Powell, Professor of Law, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Neutrality and Race Discrimination
  • William Yeomans, Fellow in Law and Government, American University Washington College of Law, Voting Rights and Inequality
  • Juan F. Perea, Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Affirmative Action and Social and Economic Segregation
Register for the symposium (http://washburnlaw.edu/practicalexperience/government/center/programs/brownat60/). Seating is limited, but seats were still available on Friday, Feb. 21.

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