Skip to this page's content

Nationally Known Black Education Historian To Question If Brown V. Board Has Achieved Educational Equity For Minorities, April 5 in Boston

BOSTON (March 19, 2007) — With the Supreme Court poised to reconsider the merits of public school desegregation because of recent cases in Seattle and Louisville, the nation's leading historian on black education, James D. Anderson, will dissect the promise of the historic Brown v. Board decision and the current realities of achieving educational equity for all students, on April 5.

The lecture and discussion are part of the second annual Simmons College/Beacon Press "Race, Education and Democracy" lecture and book series, April 5 and 6 at Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center. Both lectures are from 4-6 p.m., and are free and open to the public. (To register, visit or call Nancy Ortega at 617-521-2626) The previous two 2007 lectures occurred March 14 and 15.

Spelman College President Beverly Tatum, author of the book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and the 2006 "Race, Education and Democracy" lecturer, will introduce Anderson's April 5 lecture. Tatum's 2006 lectures have been adopted into a book titled "Can We Talk about Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation," which will be available at the April 5 lecture; Tatum will hold a book signing following this lecture, at 6 p.m.

The 2007 speaker, James D. Anderson, Ph.D., is the nation's leading historian on black education. He is head of the department of educational policy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and author of the award-winning book, "The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1953." Anderson, a senior editor at the History of Education Quarterly magazine, has served as an expert witness in several federal desegregation and affirmative actions cases, including Gratz v. Bollinger and Jenkins v. Missouri.

Anderson's April 5 lecture is titled "The Historical Context for Understanding Race Conscious Means to Educational Equality: Lessons from the Louisville and Seattle School Desegregation Cases." His April 6 lecture is "Civic Education, Citizenship and Immigration: Race and Democracy on the 150th Anniversary of the Dred Scott Decision."

Anderson's critique of the Seattle and Louisville cases, which involve the voluntary desegregation of public school districts, assesses whether the attempts to eliminate racial segregation and inequality has been successful.  Despite Brown v. Board's precedence in support of racial equality, de facto segregation and the misappropriation of equitable school funding have tarnished Brown's legacy, Anderson argues.

Each year the "Race, Education & Democracy" series brings a nationally recognized education scholar to Simmons's campus to deliver several lectures, each followed by discussions among education and civic leaders on topics such as how race in America's classrooms affects achievement, and lessons learned in recent federal desegregation cases.

Beacon Press, a historical, highly respected independent publisher based in Boston, will publish the lectures as a book.  Beacon Press has published numerous groundbreaking books on a wide range of societal issues, notably Cornel West's "Race Matters," as well as dozens of highly acclaimed works in the field of education.

Theresa Perry, Ed.D., series director and Simmons College professor of Africana studies and education, said the series was conceived "to reestablish for the public the historic connection between public education and the possibility of a robust democracy, against the backdrop of the issue of race in America."

The series is funded in part by the Lowell Institute. To register or for more information about the series, visit or call Nancy Ortega at 617-521-2626.

Due to construction, parking is severely limited on the Simmons College campus. For parking alternatives, visit the college's website.

Simmons College has a pioneering undergraduate college for women; renowned graduate programs for women and men in social work, health studies, library and information science, and liberal arts; and the nation's only MBA program designed for women.