Lawrence, Topeka conference to celebrate 70 years since Brown v. Board decision

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An upcoming conference in Lawrence and Topeka will celebrate 70 years since the “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka” decision.

Brown v. Board set the foundation for school integration when the United States Supreme Court in 1954 ruled racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. 

The University of Kansas is joining with the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park, located in Topeka, to recognize history and discuss progress that’s needed 70 years later, according to a KU news release. 

“We are proud to commemorate the 70th anniversary landmark U.S. Supreme Court 1954 Brown decision in collaboration with our colleagues at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park,” Rick Ginsberg, dean of KU’s School of Education and Human Sciences, said in the news release. “The decision altered the course of American history, and the implications and goals of the decision remain significant for today’s context.”

Events that are part of the two-day conference, “Brown v. Board at 70: Looking Back and Striving Forward,” include panel discussions on KU’s campus in Lawrence and a tour at the Topeka museum.

Sherrilyn Ifill, lawyer and Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Esq. Endowed Chair in Civil Rights at Howard University, is set to give the keynote address. Among additional speakers at other events, Charise Cheney, associate professor of Indigenous, race and ethnic studies at the University of Oregon, will speak at an opening dinner.

The conference is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, April 18 and 19. Events will happen throughout each day — Thursday at the Jayhawk Welcome Center, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd. on KU’s campus, and Friday at the Burge Union, 1565 Irving Hill Road in Lawrence, and at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park, 1515 SE Monroe St. in Topeka.

The event is free to attend, but registration is required by April 5. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register as soon as possible using an online form, available at this link.

Bus transportation from Lawrence to Topeka on Friday, April 19 will be provided for free, which those interested can note on the registration form.

All of the Friday conference sessions at the Burge Union will be accessible online via livestream after registering.

The conference is sponsored by KU and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park in Topeka, a division of the National Park Service, with support from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, KU Lawrence campus schools, KU Libraries and the Hall Center for the Humanities, according to the release.

View the full schedule and list of guest speakers on the event website via the KU School of Education and Human Sciences website at

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Kaw Valley Almanac for April 22-28, 2024

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