The Spring Semester of Brown v. Board Events at Columbia Law School

Spring BVB Events

The inaugural event commemorating Brown v. Board opened with a welcome from Mrs. Thurgood Marshall and Elaine Jones, former president of the LDF.  The event, held on February 2, was titled "The Lawyers Who Argued Brown v. Board" and began with an address by Hon. Robert L. Carter '41 LL.M. (sitting right), who argued Brown before the Supreme Court and provided an evaluation of the case. Commentary was provided by Professor Jack Greenberg '48 (standing right), who argued Gebhardt v. Belton, and Oliver Hill, who argued David v. School Board (Prince Edward County). Also participating were Hon. Constance Baker Motley '46, Hon. Louis Pollak (standing left), Hon. Jack Weinstein '48 (sitting left), and William T. Coleman who worked on the briefs of cases that were part of Brown.


Former President Bill Clinton spoke before a packed crowd at Low Library on February 10. "I came today to remember Brown...and to remind you that school is not out on America's struggle to build one nation, and to bring the world together across the racial, religious, ethnic, and tribal lines that divide it," he said.


On February 24, the Law School hosted a panel discussion called "America Before Brown" that focused on life in the United States prior to 1954. Panelists included (left to right) Professor Kendall Thomas, President and Director Counsel of the NAACP LDF Theodore M. Shaw '79, and Alan Brinkley and Eric Foner, both professors of history at Columbia.


John Timoney, former chief of department for the NYPD and currently police chief of Miami, spoke at a round table titled Fairness and Quality in Criminal  Justice.


Mrs. Thurgood Marshall welcomed guests to the first panel discussion on February 2.


Fairness and Quality in Criminal Justice was the title of a round table April 14 chaired by Ellen Chapnick, dean for Social Justice Initiatives. Panelists included Columbia Professors Jeffrey Fagan and James Liebman, Professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Professor Tracy Meares of the University of Chicago Law School, and John Timoney, Miami chief of police.

Other Brown events: The Mystery of Brown examined why many scholars believe that the opinion was wrong on the evidence, but right on the outcome; Equality, featured civil rights lawyers talking about what Brown meant for racial and ethnic movements and its relevance to the civil rights struggles of today; and Fairness and Equality in Criminal Justice, saw panelists discuss racial profiling, the death penalty, and other criminal law issues.

All Photos: Dustin Ross

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