Opening our doors to collaboration with the Orange County Superior Court, the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) and the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association (TMBA), the Fowler School of Law was proud to host a special event on February 29 commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs Board of Education.

A re-enactment of key arguments from select excerpts from the briefs, transcripts and Supreme Court opinion featured an all-star cast, with Justice Martin Jenkins as narrator, Justice Kathleen O’Leary as Chief Justice Warren, and an array of judges and leaders of the OCBA and TMBA delivering the original language in a way that threaded together the five separate cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools.

Cheryl Brown-Henderson, daughter of Rev. Oliver Brown (the “Brown” in Brown v Board) offered unique insights and perspective on a panel discussion moderated by former TMBA President Honieh Udenka, Esq., that followed. Other distinguished panelists included Justice Richard T.  Fields, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal; Chapman’s own Professor Lawrence Rosenthal: and Jack B. Clarke, Jr., Esq, education attorney, all of whom reflected on the significance of the decision for 1950s America for our own times.

A special thank you to the eleven Fowler students whose research into the source materials and other contributions help shape the program: Sofia Carmona Ceron, Tauku Hijarunguru, Joe Kahn, Sophia Laws, Ashley Mossaad, Serena Karina Peleghian, Alexandra Peterson, Rizzy Reynolds, Valerie Salcedo, Jodee Storm Sullivan, and Christian Sutphin.

We are also grateful to Hon. Maria D. Hernandez, Presiding Judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and the Hon. Richard Y. Lee, Chair of the Orange County Superior Court’s Equal Access to Justice and Prevention of Bias Committee, for the opportunity to be part of this special commemoration. As Dean Paul Paton noted in his opening remarks, a simple pencil – a momento given to all attendees – represents the promise and potential of what education is and can mean, then and now.