Brown v. Board Participants to Speak at UMKC Symposium

Joint event with Michigan State will trace history of school desegregation case law

An unprecedented joint symposium sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and Michigan State University will bring together scholars and actual participants in the landmark school desegregation cases in American history.

“Pursuing the Dreams of Brown and the Civil Rights Act: A Living History of the Fight for Educational Equality” is scheduled for April 10-11 and will be conducted simultaneously on both campuses. The speakers who are live at one campus will be viewed by real-time video-conference at the other.

In addition to Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that ended legal school segregation in the U.S., other cases to be featured during the symposium include:

  • Mendez v. Westminster (1946), a Ninth Circuit decision that desegregated California schools for Latinos
  • Milliken v. Bradley (1974), a case that sharply limited use of multi-district approaches to desegregate schools
  • Missouri v. Jenkins (1995), the case that released the state of Missouri from responsibility to fund the Kansas City, Mo., school desegregation effort
  • Parents Involved v. Seattle (2007), the most recent Supreme Court case to address race-based decision-making as a means to protect against resegregation

Among the participants who will be on the UMKC campus are Jack Greenberg, the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Professor of Law at Columbia University, who was part of the NAACP legal team in Brown; and Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of plaintiff Oliver Brown.

The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required. Please check the online program for session times and locations. The symposium is timed to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Right Act of 1964.

“ ‘Pursuing the Dreams’ will provide the audience an unparalleled interaction with those who have made history in the struggle for educational equality,” said Daniel Weddle, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Academic Support at UMKC School of Law. “Nationally known experts, as well as community leaders, will expand the perspective and add another dimension to those interactions. The symposium will also be an opportunity to review the challenges that remain 60 years after Brown.”

Additional symposium participants speaking at UMKC include:

  • Frederick Aguirre, historian and judge, Superior Court of Orange County, Calif; his father forced the schools in Placentia, California, to obey Mendez and integrate Latinos in 1949
  • Gonzalo Mendez, litigant in Mendez
  • Charles Hamilton Houston, Jr., Historian and son of attorney Charles Hamilton Houston, the architect of the NAACP’s Brown strategy
  • Howard Glickstein, Dean Emeritus of Touro College of Law, a key drafter of the Civil Rights Act
  • Judge Nathaniel Jones, Retired Sixth Circuit judge and general counsel for the NAACP during Milliken
  • Dan Ritter, counsel in Parents Involved

A large number of business, legal and community sponsors are supporting the symposium. Complete details and the full symposium program are available at the symposium home page.

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