FORT LAUDERDALE — On the eve of the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the national board of the NAACP will hold its board meeting, a town hall and several panels discussing the state of education next week in Fort Lauderdale.
A mix of national and local speakers will examine the current state of education equality, including grade level reading, the school to prison pipeline and common core. The events will take place over several days, with the 2014 Daisy Bates Education Institute on May 14 as a highlight.
The NAACP Annual Daisy Bates Education Institute honors the late Daisy Bates, former president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP and advisor to the Little Rock Nine. Despite threats and intimidation, Bates mentored nine students who braved hostile opponents to the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School.
It was May 14, 1954 when Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal …,” which started the desegregation of public schools.
Charles J. Ogletree, the Jesse Climenko Professor at Harvard Law, will deliver the keynote address focused on Brown. Ogletree is the author of All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education. He will analyze the Brown decision and provide a road map to completing the work of Brown, according to organizers.
David J. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, opens the institute with methods to improve the educational achievement of African Americans.
A town hall called “Making the Spirit of Brown a Reality” will examine the future of education. Panelists including Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock Nine, the black students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. Green was the first black student to graduate from Central, in 1958. Also on the panel are Broward County Superintendent of Schools Robert Runcie, John Jackson, president and CEO of The Schott Foundation for Public Education; Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project; and the Florida NAACP State Conference President/ NAACP National Education Chair Adora Obi Nweze. This session will run live on Google Hangout, to allow interaction with students in classrooms.
Local perspectives on school house to jailhouse issues will be addressed by Runcie; Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley; Gordon Weekes, chief assistant public defender for Broward County; Broward County Juvenile Court Judge Elijah H. Williams; and Marsha Ellison, NAACP Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch president.
“We are really excited to have the national board here in Fort Lauderdale and to hear from so many from the Broward area,” said Nweze, who said part of hosting the out-of-towners included putting “information about Brown on a ‘jump drive’ for everyone.”