Brown v. Board of Education: Mission Accomplished?

WED, AUG 25, 2004 (1:17:27)

A discussion on the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision with a VIP panel that includes Harvard’s Charles Ogletree, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Caroline Hoxby, and Lani Guinier, as well as Georgetown professor Sheryll Cashin and Abigail Thernstrom of the Manhattan Institute.

+ BIO: Charles J. Ogletree Jr.

Charles Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at the law school. He is the author of the critically acclaimed All Deliberate Speed, and has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of the 100+ Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine. In the immediate aftermath of the Crowley-Gates incident, Ogletree acted not only as counsel to Professor Gates but continues to act as advisor on police behavior to both Harvard University and the City of Cambridge. He was a senior advisor to President Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.

+ BIO: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American Studies and Africana Studies, and of The Root, an online news magazine dedicated to coverage of African American news, culture, and genealogy. He is the co-author, with Cornel West, of The Future of the Race (1996), and the author of a memoir, Colored People (1994), that traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and 1960s. Among his other books are The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America’s First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers (2003); Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Black Man (1997); and Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (1992). He is completing a book on race and writing in the eighteenth century, entitled Black Letters and the Enlightenment. Professor Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and his B.A. summa cum laude in History from Yale University, where he was a Scholar of the House, in 1973. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke. In his career he has received nearly 50 honorary degrees, from institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Williams College, Emory University, Howard University, University of Toronto, and the University of Benin.

+ BIO: Caroline Hoxby

Caroline Hoxby, Professor of Economics, is Director of the Economics of Education Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. She is one of the nation’s foremost experts on school choice, teacher pay, teacher quality, financing public schools, the costs and benefits of college, and methods for scientific, quantitative evaluation of educational policies. Hoxby has a PhD in economics from MIT and studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She is the editor of The Economics of School Choice (2003) and College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay for It (2004).

+ BIO: Lani Guinier

In 1998, Lani Guinier became the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at the Harvard Law School and is now the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law. Before her Harvard appointment, she was a tenured professor for ten years at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Educated at Radcliffe College and Yale Law School, Guinier worked in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and then headed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1980s. Guinier has published many scholarly articles and books, including The Tyranny of the Majority (1994); Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change (1997) (with co-authors Michelle Fine and Jane Balin); Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice (1998); and The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (2002) (co-authored with Gerald Torres); Meritocracy, Inc.: How Wealth Became Merit, Calss Became Race and Higher Education Became a Gift From the Poor to the Rich (forthcoming Harvard University Press 2007). In her scholarly writings and in op-ed pieces, she has addressed issues of race, gender, and democratic decision making, and sought new ways of approaching questions like affirmative action while calling for candid public discourse on these topics. Guinier’s leadership on these important issues has been recognized with many awards, including the Champion of Democracy Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus; the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession; and the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association of Affirmative Action, and by ten honorary degrees, including from Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College and the University of the District of Columbia. Her excellence in teaching was honored by the 1994 Harvey Levin Teaching Award from the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School.

+ BIO: Sheryll Cashin

Sheryll Cashin, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, teaches Constitutional Law and Race and American Law, among other subjects. She writes about race relations and inequality in America. Her new book, The Agitator’s Daughter: A Memoir of Four Generations of One Extraordinary African-American Family (PublicAffairs, 2008) traces the arc of American race relations through generations of her family. Her book, The Failures of Integration (PublicAffairs, 2004) was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review and a nominee for the 2005 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for non-fiction. Cashin has published widely in academic journals and written commentaries for several periodicals, including the L.A. Times, Washington Post, and Education Week. She has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Newshour With Jim Leher, CNN, BET, ABC News, and numerous local programs. Professor Cashin worked in the Clinton White House as an advisor on urban and economic policy, particularly concerning community development in inner-city neighborhoods. She was law clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Abner Mikva of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1984 with a BD in electrical engineering. As a Marshall Scholar, she went on to receive a masters in English Law, with honors, from Oxford University in 1986 and a J.D., with honors, from Harvard Law School, in 1989, where she was a member of the Harvard Law Review.

+ BIO: Abigail Thernstrom

Abigail Thernstrom a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York and the vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also serves on the board of advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and was a member of the Massachusetts state Board of Education for eleven years. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University, in 1975. She is also a recipient of the prestigious 2007 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement. She is currently completing a new book: Voting Rights and Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections (2009). She serves on several boards: the Center for Equal Opportunity and the Institute for Justice, among others. From 1992 to 1997 was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Domestic Strategy Group. President Clinton chose her as one of three authors to participate in his first “town meeting” on race in Akron, Ohio, on December 3, 1997, and she was part of a small group that met with the President again in the Oval Office on December 19th.

Harvard Du Bois Institute
Civil Rights Movement Series