Press Release


Jon Davidson (Legal Director, Lambda Legal); Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Anna Julia Cooper Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Spelman College); Gary Orfield

(Professor of Education and Social Policy, Harvard University) consider the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision on contemporary civil rights issues.

CHICAGO – The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will conclude its year-long commemoration of the historic Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision by exploring its continued resonance. The IHC will sponsor a roundtable discussion, “Our Echoing Demands: The Legacies of Brown v. Board Today,” on Saturday, May 14th, in Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center (400 S. State Street) from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and space is limited. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or send an email to This event is wheelchair accessible.

The Illinois Humanities Council, the Public Square at the IHC, the Harold Washington Library Center, and Lambda Legal are co-sponsors of this event.

Jon Davidson is the Legal Director of Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those living with HIV. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago, USC, and UCLA law schools, where he has taught classes dealing with sexual orientation and HIV legal issues.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Spelman College in Atlanta. She is the author of Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought (New Press, 1995), and co-editor of Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature (Anchor Books, 1979), the first anthology of black women’s literature published in the U.S.

Gary Orfield, Professor of Education and Social Policy at Harvard University, is also Co-Founder and Director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard. Professor Orfield has been involved with development of governmental policy and has served as an expert witness in court cases related to his research, including the 2003 Supreme Court decision to uphold affirmative action at the University of Michigan.

This panel will be moderated by Barbara Ransby, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Professor Ransby is a historian, freelance writer, and political activist. She is the author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) and serves as chair of the Advisory Board of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council.

“Our Echoing Demands: The Legacies of Brown v. Board Today is part of the IHC’s “Brown v. Board 50 Years Later: Conversations on Integration, Race, and the Courts,” a free, year-long series of programs taking place in Illinois through May 2005. For a calendar of events or for more information, please visit the IHC’s “Brown v. Board 50 Years Later” website at or contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or via email.

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5), Chicago Sun-Times, Comcast, and WYCC-TV Channel 20 are media sponsors for “Brown v. Board 50 Years Later.”

Brown v. Board 50 Years Later” is funded in part by grants from The Boeing Company, Jovon Broadcasting, the Polk Bros. Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago.

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


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