Brown v. Board of Education at 70


Almost seventy years ago, on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education declaring that racially segregated schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. It is perhaps the single most important decision the Supreme Court has ever issued; its impact can be felt in education policy, critical race studies, constitutional theory (e.g., the 14th Amendment) and even in modern debates about Supreme Court reform. Today -- more than a generation later -- what is Brown’s legacy? What have we learned? What has changed? What will Brown mean to future generations?

In February 2024, legal scholars and education scholars will convene in Williamsburg, Virginia to tackle those questions, and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board. Mike Klarman, the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and awarding-winning author of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, will serve as the keynote speaker. For those that elect to write, the William & Mary Law Review will publish essays that follow from the symposium (approximately 14,000 words or less) in an issue to be released in spring 2025. Travel expenses for panelists will be covered by William & Mary.


Unless otherwise noted, all schedule items will take place in Room 127 of the William & Mary Law School.

February 16, 2024

2:30-3:00 PM: Opening Remarks

3:00-4:00 PM: Keynote Address by Mike Klarman 

4:00-4:15 PM: Break

4:15-5:30 PM: Brown's Impact on Higher Education 

Moderator: Jamel Donnor.  

Panelists: Stefan Bradley, “Brown’s Rebellious Children: Student Agitation and the Evolution of American Higher Education”; 

Joy Milligan, “The Segregated University and Our Present Constitution”; 

William F. Tate, IV., “Desegregation and Disinvestment: Financial Risk and the Case of Louisiana Higher Education.”  


February 17, 2024

8:30-9:00 AM: Full Breakfast (Penny Commons)

9:00-10:15 AM: Brown's Blindspots

Moderator: Margaret Hu. 

Panelists: Vania Blaiklock, “Race without Racism: Christian School Curriculum and the Race-Neutral Transformation of Brown’s Legacy”; 

Jamel K. Donnor; “The Right to a Nuisance-Free Public Education.”; 

Matthew Patrick Shaw, “Completing Brown’s Unfinished Work.” 

10:15-10:30 AM: Break 

10:30-11:45 AM: Brown's Future

Moderator: Allison Orr Larsen. 

Panelists: James D. Anderson, “The Race-Conscious Legislation and Policies of the Reconstruction Congress”; 

Neal Devins, “Why You Cannot Find a Swing Justice When You Really Need One”;  

Louis Michael Seidman, “Brown Now”;  

11:45 AM: Closing Remarks

12:00 PM: Lunch



Registration is appreciated but not required. Please visit here to register.