Brown vs. Board re-enactment marks 50 years

Mary Russell

The landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision was reenacted on campus Sept. 23 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the court case.

The decision, which also included four other cases of discrimination in schools, occurred in 1954. The court opinion declared that the widely used phrase “separate but equal” had “no place” in the educational system.

The re-enactment, sponsored by the office of multicultural affairs, also included an introductory lecture from law professor Ann Juliano, and a film about the context of the case.

Two University law students portrayed the important figures in the trial: Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer who represented Linda Brown, and a representative of the Board of Education. Each presented their side of the case before the verdict was announced.

A panel of faculty represented the Supreme Court, including professors from a number of different departments ranging from sociology and political science to education and philosophy.

Following the reading of the original verdict was a faculty discussion of the case with the audience.

Junior Chris Nahas attended this event in the Connelly Center after being encouraged to do so by his history professor, but said that this was the first time he has attended such an event “on my own free will.” Nahas believed the event was positive, and said that similar events should occur more frequently on campus.

Nancy Lee, associate director of multicultural affairs, feels that events such as the anniversary of the Brown vs. Board decision are ways of “bringing an issue to the forefront” for a younger generation. She also emphasized that any type of program that educates the audience on such historical feats is “beneficial, essential, enriching, enlightening and re-enforces the whole purpose of this case.”

The re-enactment was considered part of a fall series of diversity events focusing on civil rights, which also includes upcoming conferences and lectures.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is also sponsoring the upcoming visit from Archbishop Desmond Tutu this Wednesday.