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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 22, 2004

(Mahwah) – If Not Us, Then Who? Fifty Years Since Brown,” a conference to be held Thursday through Saturday, April 15 – 17 at Ramapo College of New Jersey, will include the Brown Sisters – Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson-as featured speakers. At a luncheon on April 15 they will talk about what has transpired in the 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka. Linda’s father Oliver filed the suit on her behalf. The Luncheon is free; limited seating is available to the public for their presentation, to be held in The Pavilion on the College campus. An audience question and answer session will follow.

Sponsored by the Africana Institute of Ramapo College of New Jersey, the annual Conference on the State of the African-American Professoriate attracts African-Americans in higher education from across the country. The theme acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, in which the separate but equal doctrine of public education was struck down and required the desegregation of schools throughout America. The theme also recognizes that the responsibility for the maintenance of the legacy of Brown rests with every American, particularly the entire higher education community.

The keynote luncheon speaker on Friday, April 16 will be Bob Chrisman, editor and co-founder of The Black Scholar. He is also director of the department of black studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. That evening, there will be an African Heritage Achievement Celebration in recognition of African-American graduates of Ramapo College.

Conference workshops and concurrent sessions will address a broad array of historical and current issues as they relate to the African-American professoriate and higher education. On the agenda are presentations on desegregation in public schools; the 2003 Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action at the University of Michigan; what black professionals experience in the workplace; African-American educators’ ethical and diversity responsibilities to the higher education community; multiple identities as academics and regular family folk; blacks in the west from 1100 A.D. to 1889; Barbershop, The Passion of Christ, and the Africana Professoriate; a case study of the tenure-track experience at a predominately white university; and teaching and research in the Ethiopian higher education experience. Workshops include publishing in the new market, and practical tips and strategies for teaching effectively.

On Saturday, a trip to Manhattan is planned to see the Broadway show A Raisin in the Sun featuring Phylicia Rashad, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan.

The Brown sisters have been visiting college campuses to talk about their experiences. Thompson a former Head Start teacher, is a program associate with the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research. Henderson has been a sixth grade teacher, a school guidance counselor, a state educational administrator and presently is the executive director of the Foundation. The non-profit organization is a living tribute to the attorneys and plaintiffs in the landmark case. It provides scholarships to minority students, presents awards to local, state and national leaders and sponsors programs on multi-cultural understanding. The Foundation successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education National Park in Topeka, KA.

Dr. Henry Vance Davis, dean of Ramapo’s School of Social Science and Human Services, is the director of the Africana Institute. To reserve a seat for the Brown sisters’ presentation, call Diana Alspach, 201.684.7625.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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