Chestertown, MD, January 28, 2004 — May 17, 2004, will mark the 50th anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in public education. In honor of Black History Month, Washington College—in cooperation with the Maryland Humanities Council—will host a lecture series to examine the context, impact and legacy of this historic turn in Civil Rights. All lectures are free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge on their respective dates.
On Tuesday, February 3, Jeffrey L. Coleman, assistant professor of English specializing in multicultural/American literature at St. Mary's College of Maryland, will speak on “Pride and Protest: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement.” Dr. Coleman's lecture will explore the relationship between social forces and art during the late 1950s, the 1960s, and the early 1970s, and how the Civil Rights Movement of this period is expressed in the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Amiri Baraka, Michael S. Harper and others.
Dr. Coleman has worked as poetry editor for Hayden's Ferry Review and advertising copywriter for Young and Rubicam in New York. He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, and his B.A. in Communications from Winthrop University.
On Wednesday, February 11, 2004, Debra Newman Ham, professor of history at Morgan State University, will present “Expert Witnesses: The NAACP's Brown Case Strategy.” While many people know about the attorneys who argued many of the cases leading up to Brown v. Board of Education—Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, Robert Carter and Jack Greenberg—few realize the number of scholars from various disciplines who were called upon to build or strengthen the school desegregation cases in courts around the country. Dr. Ham will look at the contributions of scholars such as historian John Hope Franklin and social psychologists Mamie and Kenneth Bancroft Clark, and the way the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund strategized their assault against segregation in American schools with the aid of such scholars.
Dr. Ham received her Ph.D. in African History from Howard University, her M.A. in African History from Boston University, and her B.A. in history from Howard University. She served as curator of the NAACP Papers at the Library of Congress from 1986 to 1995. She teaches African, African-American, archival and public history at Morgan State.
On March 23, 2004, the Brown v. Board of Education Lecture Series will conclude with a talk by Dr. Lenneal Henderson, distinguished professor of Government and Public Administration at University of Baltimore. Dr. Henderson will discuss “Brown at 50: New Challenges of the Hardening of the Categories,” taking a deeper look at Brown and its trail of cases leading up to today's controversies in educational equity. His lecture will address the shift in demographic, socioeconomic and educational context and content of school segregation; the shift from rights to resources and the problem of equitable public school financing; battles over curriculum and tracking, including the disproportionate number of non-white students in special education and learning disability tracks; and the quality of education and issues of multiculturalism and diversity.
Dr. Henderson serves as a Senior Fellow at the William Donald Schaefer Center for Public Policy and a Senior Fellow in the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at the University of Baltimore. He has been a consultant to federal, state and local government, the corporate sector, and the nonprofit sector for more than 30 years in the areas of housing, education policy, energy management, environmental policy and public management. He received his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Brown v. Board of Education Lecture Series is sponsored by Washington College's Office of International & Diversity Affairs, Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, Campus Events and Visitors Committee, Student Government Association, Center for The Study of Black Culture, Black Student Union and Cleopatra's Daughters, in cooperation with the Maryland Humanities Council and the Kent County Chapter of the NAACP.