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'From Plessy to Brown' to examine the history of public education, September 24th & 25th

September 11, 2004

To Register: www.amistadresearchcenter.org or call (504) 862-3238

Free and Open to the Public


A weekend of events in September will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court desegregation case by examining historical ramifications on both a national and local level.   The Amistad Research Center, Tulane Law School and the Black Law Student Association of Tulane University are sponsoring “From Plessy to Brown,” an in-depth exploration of school desegregation and the history of public education, featuring expert panelists and video highlights from oral history interviews with Gail Etienne Netters, Leona Tate and Tessie Prevost Williams - the first African American students to enroll in John McDonough 19, a  New Orleans public school, in November, 1960.


“We have assembled an outstanding group of scholars, civil rights advocates and persons who were directly involved in events that chronicles this important period in public education,” said Lee Hampton, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center.   “The fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education is the appropriate time to look back at events and to assess how far we’ve come.”


The program begins on Friday, September 24th  at 6:00 p.m. with a reargument of the legal issues in Brown v. Board of Education by the Tulane University Law School Moot Court Team at Tulane Law School located in Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret Street.

On Saturday, September 25th, an American Missionary Association Symposium will be held at Tulane’s Diboll Conference Center at the Uptown Campus.  

The symposium, from 9:00 a.m. -  2:00 p.m. will feature some of the foremost authorities on African American educational  and legal history as well as insights and recollections from prominent local individuals:


  • Katrina Sanders Cassell, Ph.D.- Associate Professor of History, University of Iowa and the author of articles on race relations and African American educational history.
  • Donald E. DeVore, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of History and Museum Studies at Southern University at New Orleans.
  • Raymond T. Diamond, J.D. - Professor of Law and adjunct professor of African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University.    With Robert J. Cottrol and Leland B. Ware, he is the co-author of Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution which was the winner of the 2003 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in Legal History.
  • Bernette Joshua Johnson, J.D.- the first African American woman to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court and one of the first African American women to attend the Louisiana
  • Wayne J. Lee, J.D. – local practicing attorney and  the first African American to be named president of the Louisiana State Bar Association.
  • Keith Weldon Medley - New Orleans writer, historian and author of numerous articles on Black New Orleans and the Plessy v. Ferguson case that established the “separate but equal doctrine.”
  • F. Allison Phillips, D.Min. - an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, the first African American to serve as General Secretary of the American Missionary Association, retired  Associate Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ and member of Amistad Research Center Board of Directors.
  • Wendy B. Scott, J.D. - Professor of Law and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Tulane Law School.  She has published articles on school desegregation, sexual harassment, and affirmative action.
  • Alexander Pierre Tureaud, Jr.- the first African American student to enroll at Louisiana State University in 1953 as a result of a law suit filed by his father, Alexander Pierre Tureaud, Sr.     He will share his experiences at Louisiana State University and discuss the hidden stories of civil rights and school desegregation.
  • Leland B. Ware, J.D.  Professor at the University of Delaware and author of more than sixty articles on civil rights and higher education.
  • Keith Werhan , J.D.  -Tulane Professor of Constitutional Law.  He specializes in administrative law, federal jurisdiction, constitutional law and the First Amendment at Tulane Law School.
  • Betty Wisdom - a founding member of Save Our Schools, Inc., New Orleans community leader, and member of the Amistad Research Center Board of Directors.


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