LAWRENCE -- Members of the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary National Commission and the Brown Foundation of Topeka are hoping to see busloads of public school students and their teachers attend their March 14 through 17 conference at the University of Kansas.
"We requested special rates to ensure that students from across the state and their teachers could afford to participate," said Deborah Dandridge, KU archivist, conference chair and a member of the 50th anniversary national commission.
The four-day event, titled "Legacies and the Unfinished Business of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka -- Law, Education, Public Policy and the Media," not only will bring together national civil rights leaders, educators, lawyers and journalists but also descendants of the 1954 case.
"We want today's generation to hear the stories of those whose families lead the way with the case that revolutionized race relations, extended the protection of equal rights to all U.S. citizens and inspired oppressed peoples around the world," Dandridge said.
The conference opens Sunday, March 14, with a free program in the Lawrence High School auditorium. Tony Brown of "Tony Brown's Journal," the longest-running program on PBS, will speak, and the Rust College A Capella Choir from Holly Springs, Miss., will perform before Brown's address. Tickets are required for the free public events and are available by registering online at www.kuce.org/programs/bbec/overview.html or by calling KU Continuing Education registrations toll free at (877) 404-KUCE (5823) or locally at (785) 864-KUCE (5823).
In addition to being the concluding event in a series of national public programs on the historic decision, the conference offers a unique opportunity for many of the descendants of the 1954 case to gather and speak publicly, Dandridge noted.
On Monday, March 15, the conference will move to the Kansas Union at KU, where Lani Guinier, Harvard Law School professor, and Walter Broadnax, Clark Atlanta University president, a former Kansan (Hoisington) and a KU alumnus, will speak. Descendants of the plaintiffs also will speak.
Those descendants include Joseph A. DeLaine, Briggs v. Elliott in South Carolina; Cheryl Brown-Henderson, Zelma Henderson, Leola Montgomery, Vicki Lawton Benson and Harriet Wilson, Brown v. Board of Education in Kansas; and John Stokes and Edwilda Allen Issac, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County in Virginia.
Students and teachers who register by Feb. 18 may attend the entire conference for $35, one day for $15 or a half-day on Wednesday, March 17, for $5. After Feb. 18 the conference rates are slightly higher for everyone. The cost of the full conference, including meals, is $120 before Feb. 18 and $130 after that date.
More national speakers will include:
Julianne Malveaux, economist and author
Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University
Mary Dudziak, professor in the University of Southern California School of Law
John Jackson, director of education for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Ted Shaw, associate director and counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Karen Bates, correspondent with National Public Radio
Kevin Fox Gotham, professor at Tulane University
Norma Cantu, former regional counsel and education director of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and currently professor at the University of Texas
William Guillermo Luna, curator of the Museum of Mexican Culture and History in Chicago and co-founder of the Mexican American Veterans Association.
The KU Libraries and Continuing Education are the primary sponsors. Special rates for students and teachers and the free public programs are made possible by support from several KU offices including: Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hall Center for the Humanities, School of Education, African and African-American studies, American studies, School of Law, sociology, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Graduate School and International Programs, political science, public administration, School of Social Welfare, Office of the Vice Provost for Student Success and Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for University Relations. Other major sponsors include the Brown Foundation; Luke Blanchard and George T. Grigsby, both of Las Vegas, Nev.; USD 497; and the Lawrence Journal-World.
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