MSBA Celebrates Brown vs. Board
of Education 50th Anniversary
~Presents Special Commemorative Event with Center Stage~
years ago, on May 17, 1954, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme
Court decision began the process of dismantling segregation in this country’s
public schools by striking down the
“separate but equal” legal doctrine. To commemorate the 50th anniversary
of this historic milestone, Center Stage, in association with the Maryland
State Bar Association (MSBA) and other community groups, is hosting an educational
and entertaining celebratory event this May.
3, 2004 at 8:00 p.m., Center Stage will present a commemorative event highlighting
key oral arguments of the Brown vs. Board of Education case. Through
live readings from the original trial transcripts and the Court’s decisions,
complemented by period news clippings and editorials, an audiovisual presentation
and recollections from members of the community, the event will tell the
story of Brown and offer insight into the heart of the momentous transformation
wrought by this case.
commemoration will feature a range of community leaders, including MSBA President
Harry S. Johnson and other MSBA members, offering dramatic oral readings
from actual trial excerpts of Brown vs. Board of Education. Additional
recitations of media coverage and commentary of the time, including material
from both the Baltimore Sun and the Afro-American newspapers,
will complement the trial readings. Photos, memorabilia and an audiovisual
component featuring community commentary will enhance the readings, as will
local high school students from Center Stage’s Encounter outreach program
offering contemporary reflections.
will then engage the audience in a lively, interactive dialogue of issues
the commemoration has raised, especially as they relate to contemporary times.
Together, the participants will explore the long-term impact of Brown,
examine the correlation between this decision and subsequent Court rulings
on affirmative action in higher education and Brown’s legacy
to future generations of Americans.
Stage and commissioned playwright Jerome Hairston, aided by University of
Maryland School of Law professor Katherine Vaughns and several student volunteers,
have crafted Brown’s trial transcripts into a compelling and
insightful text for the May 3 dramatic presentation.
May 3 community arts program, the first of its scope for Center Stage, will
be held at 8:00 p.m. in the Pearlstone Theater at Center Stage, 700 North
Calvert Street, in Baltimore City. While the event is free and open to the
public, tickets must be reserved by calling the Center Stage box office at
(410) 332-0033 after April 1, 2004. This celebration of Brown vs. Board
of Education is a collaborative community effort and is expected to attract
a sell-out crowd.
Stage is presenting this program in association with MSBA, the Bar Association
of Baltimore City, the University of Maryland School of Law, the Reginald
F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture and other
groups yet to be confirmed. The Baltimore Sun is sponsoring the commemorative
event, and the Baltimore Community Foundation is generously funding it along
with the Aaron Straus & Lillie Straus Foundation.