University of Pittsburgh
January 26, 2004

Pitt Law School to Mark 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Decision at One-Day Symposium Feb. 6

Pitt alumnus Derrick Bell gives keynote address at luncheon held in his honor
Contact:  412-624-4147

EDITORS: Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, and Jean Stefancic will be available to the media at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 6 in the William Pitt Union (WPU) Kurtzman Room to answer questions following the 12:30 p.m. luncheon in the WPU Ballroom. Members of the media also are invited to the luncheon; those wishing to attend must call Suzanne Leroy at 412-648-1401 by Jan 30. Those wishing only to attend Bell's lecture following lunch should arrive in the WPU Ballroom by 1 p.m.

PITTSBURGH—"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…" reads a line from the Emma Lazarus poem, "The New Colossus," on the base of the Statue of Liberty. When the statue was erected in 1883, however, that message was not meant for African Americans, who had to fight for their right to be included.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision, an historic event in African Americans' fight for inclusion, with a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 6 symposium. The one-day event at the Barco Law Building's Teplitz Memorial Courtroom, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland, will feature nationally acclaimed experts on race relations.

David Herring, Pitt School of Law dean, will open the symposium with a welcoming address. Derrick A. Bell, visiting professor of law at New York University School of Law and a 1957 graduate of Pitt's law school, will deliver the keynote speech, "Silent Covenant: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform," at a 12:30 p.m. William Pitt Union luncheon honoring Bell that is for conference attendees only. Bell is known for resigning from his tenured faculty position at Harvard University to protest a lack of minority women faculty members.

Symposium participants will investigate the May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court decision, which proclaimed, "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The ruling dismantled the legal basis for segregation in more than 20 states across the nation. Although the decision did not instantly end school segregation, it did destroy the constitutional foundation on which it rested, changing race relations in the United States and opening the way for future gains by African Americans and other minorities.

During three separate panel presentations leading scholars in legal history and race theory will discuss the Supreme Court decision and the ways race consciousness has changed over the past half century. The presentations and times are: Critical Perspectives on Brown, from 9:10 to 10:40 a.m.; Social Perspectives on Brown, from 10:50 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.; and Brown and Beyond, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The day concludes with a reception from 4:15 to 6 p.m.

Symposium panelists and moderators are Anthony Cook, professor of law at Georgetown University and a Baptist minister; Robert Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law and a professor of history and sociology at George Washington University; Larry Davis, School of Social Work dean, Donald M. Henderson Professor, and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems , all at Pitt; Richard Delgado, Derrick A. Bell Fellow and a professor of law at Pitt; Joe Feagin, graduate research professor at the University of Florida; Paul Finkelman, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa; Tanya Hernandez, professor of law and the Justice Frederick W. Hall Scholar at Rutgers University; Rachel Moran, Robert D. and Leslie-Kay Raven Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley; Thomas Ross, Pitt professor of law; Janet Ward Schofield, Pitt professor of psychology and a senior scientist at the University's Learning Research and Development Center; Jean Stefancic, Derrick A. Bell Scholar and a professor of law at Pitt; and Lu-in Wang, Pitt professor of law.

For more information, contact Pitt Professor Robert Berkley Harper at 412-648-1353 or

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for six hours of substantive CLE credits for a $30 fee, payable at the door. For more information, contact Jui Joshi at 412-648-1305.