Brown v. Board of Education: 70 Years Later

Hooks Institute hosts conference examining legacy of 1954 ruling and asks, ‘Where Will Memphis and the Nation Go Next?’

Hooks Brown v Board of Education conference graphic

March 27, 2024 — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change will host a conference examining the legacy of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision on Thursday, April 11, at the University of Memphis, with guest speakers from the U.S. Department of Education and the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP as well as panels that will focus on furthering equity in education.

In Brown v. Board of Education, one of the most important decisions in the nation’s history, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the separate but equal doctrine that had been the law of the land violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by relegating African American children to second-class citizenship in education by forcing them to attend segregated schools.

Tonya Boyd

While this decision had a profound impact on helping to eradicate discrimination in all spheres of American life, this conference will examine the impact of the Brown decision on creating equity in education for marginalized groups in Memphis and America today. 

The conference starts at 10 a.m. in the University Center on the University of Memphis campus. The Hon. Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, will deliver a plenary address and Tona Boyd, Associate Director-Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP will deliver the keynote address. 

Catherine E LhamonA panel of professionals in education, law, and policy will discuss the current state of the quest for racial justice and educational equity.  Additionally, a special panel of youth representatives and future professionals will give voice to contemporary experiences of diversity in schooling, racial and educational justice.  Both panels will focus on imagining future tools for furthering equity in education. 

This conference is free and available to the public. Registration to attend the conference is recommended. To register, visit memphis.edu/benhooks.

Designed to appeal to the legal and education communities, the conference also applies to policymakers and students. CLE credits will be made available to participating attorneys and members of the judiciary.

Parking is available in the public garage located at 505 Zach Curlin Street.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501c(3) organization. Visit memphis.edu/benhooks for more information.


Jennifer Godwin
Director of Media and Public Relations
(O) 901.678.4822 (M) 501.529.7482

Strategic Partnerships Consultant
Benjamin L. Hooks Institute

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