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April 6, 2004

Brown v. Board of Education: A 50th anniversary symposium

By Lisa Trei

Legal scholar and civil rights activist Derrick Bell Jr. will deliver the keynote address during a symposium at Stanford April 15-16 marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made segregation in America's public schools illegal.

Presented by the university's Program in American Studies, the symposium is free and open to the public. Bell's lecture at 5 p.m. April 15, titled "Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform," will take place in Room 290 of Stanford Law School.

During the 1960s, Bell handled hundred of cases involving school litigation in the South as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1971, he became the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. Bell relinquished the position in 1992 when he refused to return from a two-year, unpaid leave of absence he took to protest the lack of women of color on the faculty. Since then, Bell has been a visiting professor at New York University Law School.

At 10 a.m. April 16, a panel discussion titled "The Promise of Brown" will be held in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall (Building 460). Discussants will include James Jackson, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Program for Research on Black Americans; Daryl Michael Scott, history professor at Howard University and author of Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche; and Mary Dudziak, professor of law and history at the University of Southern California Law School and author of Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. LaDoris Cordell, Stanford's vice provost for campus relations and a retired Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, will moderate the event.

At 2 p.m. April 16, a panel of Stanford professors will hold a discussion titled "The Impact of Brown" in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall. Participants will include Michelle Alexander, an associate law professor and director of the Law School's Civil Rights Clinic; education Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who has served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future; and William Koski, associate law professor and director of the Youth and Education Law Clinic. Sally Dickson, associate vice provost for faculty development, will serve as moderator.

The symposium also features an exhibit in the lobby of the School of Education (Cubberley Building) on a new book titled Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone: Brown v. Board of Education, by alumna Joyce Carol Thomas. A second exhibit of materials related to Brown v. Board of Education is on display in the Law School's Robert Crown Library.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Program in African and African American Studies, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the departments of History and English, and the schools of Law and Education.



Lisa Trei, News Service: (650) 725-0224,

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