Brown v Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission
Archived Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Commission?

Established on September 18, 2001, by Public Law 107-41, the Commission was created for the purpose of encouraging and providing for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 landmark case that overruled Plessy v. Ferguson and the doctrine of separate but equal.

Who is on the Commission and how were they appointed?

The President, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Brown Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the NAACP, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site selected the members of the Brown Commission. The Commission has representatives from various federal agencies as well as from each of the five jurisdictions represented by the Brown decision – Kansas (Brown v. Board of Education), South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliott), Delaware (Belton v. Gebhart), Virginia (Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County), and the District of Columbia (Bolling v. Sharpe). Massachusetts is also represented because the first legal challenge to segregated schools was decided there in 1849 (Roberts v. City of Boston).


R. Alex Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice
Brian Jones, General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Education

Members of the Commission

Stephen E. Adams, Superintendent, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, representing the National Park Service
Deborah L. Dandridge, University of Kansas, representing The Brown Foundation
Joseph A. De Laine, Jr., Retired pharmaceutical executive, representing South Carolina
Judge Roger L. Gregory, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, representing the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
Dennis C. Hayes, General Counsel, NAACP, representing the NAACP
Daniel Holt, Director, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, representing Kansas
Cheryl Brown Henderson, President, The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, representing the Brown Foundation
Dr. John Jackson, National Director of Education, NAACP, representing the NAACP
Wan Kim, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, representing the U.S. Department of Justice
Kenneth Marcus, Delegated the Authority of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, representing the U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Jesse Milan, President, Kansas NAACP, representing Kansas
Littleton P. Mitchell, Delaware NAACP, representing Delaware
Dr. Benjamin W. Robertson, Sr., Pastor, Cedar Street Baptist Church, representing Virginia
Josephine A. Robertson, Public school teacher, representing Massachusetts
Carolyn N. Sawyer, President, Tom Sawyer Company, Inc., representing South Carolina
Theodore M. Shaw, Associate Director, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, representing the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
H. Patrick Swygert, President, Howard University, representing the District of Columbia
The Honorable Charles H. Toliver, IV, Judge of the Superior Court of Delaware, representing Delaware
Lacy B. Ward, Jr., Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Tuskegee University, representing Virginia
Roger Wilkins, Professor of History and American Culture, George Mason University, representing the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Michael K. Young, Dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University Law Center, representing the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
The Honorable Eric Rosen, Judge of the District Court, Shawnee County Court House, Division 4, Topeka, Kansas, Alternate representing the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research.

How will the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education be commemorated?

  • Writing Contest(s)
  • Public Lectures
  • A Call for Papers
  • Reunion of the plaintiffs and attorneys of Brown v. Board of Education in May 2003 in Washington, D.C.
  • Textbook Summit
  • National celebration of Brown v. Board of Education and opening of the Brown Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas on May 17, 2004.

When will the Commission convene meetings?

  • The first meeting was held on November 13, 2002, in Washington, D.C.
  • The second meeting was held on March 27, 2003, in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • The third meeting was held on June 4, 2003, in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • The fourth meeting was held on October 30, 2003, in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • The fifth meeting was held on January 15 – 17, 2004, in Farmville, Virginia.
  • The sixth meeting will be held on March 16-17, 2004 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Is there an opportunity for the public to participate in Commission activities?

Yes, the public is welcome to attend all scheduled Commission meetings, the public lectures, and the national celebration.

Where can I obtain additional information regarding the Commission or attending meetings and other public activities?

The Brown Commission website may be found at http://www.ed.gov/brownvboard50th.

For additional information, please contact:

The Brown Commission
Angela M. Bennett, Executive Director
PO Box 8617
Kansas City, MO 64114-5802
Phone: 888.863.6515
Fax: 816-268-0552

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Last Modified: 03/04/2004