he Institute for Public
Service and Policy Research has
embarked on a two-year project to mark the 50th
anniversary of the landmark 1954 decision of the U.S.
Supreme Court abolishing segregation in public schools.
The project will culminate in the publication of a series
of papers published by the Institute on May 17, 2004,
examining the status of African-Americans and race relations
in South Carolina and making public policy recommendations
for eliminating the vestiges of segregation which linger
in various aspects of current life in the state.
USC President Andrew Sorensen and Provost Jerome D.
Odom have requested that the Institute “coordinate
the many activities of the University being planned
for the anniversary,” observing that “South
Carolina played a key role in this monumental decision.”
South Carolina was one of the original parties to
the litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court.
a senior fellow at the Institute, this author will
direct and guide the study, with the advice and assistance
of a distinguished Steering Committee. The Institute
has already begun communications with other USC units
which are planning activities in connection with the
anniversary celebration and will seek to coordinate
all such projects.
Joseph A. De Laine led and organized the African
American community's quest for equality in Clarendon
the United States Congress has created the Brown
v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary
Commission to lead a national observance of the event.
The Commission will visit South Carolina the first
week in June of 2003, and the University of South
Carolina and the Institute for Public Service and
Policy Research will host the visit.
Institute’s role, in summary, will include:
the status of African-Americans and race relations
in South Carolina through a series of research papers.
USC activities marking the 50th anniversary of the
the visit of the national (Brown) Commission to
financial support for the research project and other
activities has been contributed by a number of entities.
The organizations contributing include Nelson, Mullins,
Riley and Scarborough; the McNair Law Firm; Nexsen,
Pruet, Jacobs and Pollard; the S.C. Commission on
Higher Education; the South Carolina Public Service
Authority (Santee Cooper); and BellSouth.
Institute has retained the services of five distinguished
faculty members from public and private higher educational
institutions in the state to inquire into several
subject areas of importance to African Americans in
South Carolina. These areas comprise: (1) Education,
(2) Economic Status, (3) Justice, (4) Participation
in Public Life, and (5) Status of the Family.
academic researchers will complete their work by December
15, 2003, and the material produced will serve as
the basis for deliberations by the project’s
Steering Committee for formulating recommendations
in public policy for the state. On May 17, 2004,
the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision
on Brown v. Board of Education, the Institute
will publish all of the research papers as well as
Steering Committee includes the following persons:
R. Sheheen, Senior Fellow, Institute for Public
Service and Policy Research, University of South
Carolina, former S.C. Commissioner of Higher Education
Andrews, Attorney, Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough
W. Beazley, Retired, Deputy Commissioner, South
Carolina Human Affairs Commission
Andrew Billingsley, Scholar-in-Residence, Institute
for Families in Society, University of South Carolina
Davis, Executive Director, South Carolina Commission
for Minority Affairs
Marianna Davis, Special Assistant to the President,
Bob Moore, Retired, Professor of History, Columbia
Cleveland Sellers, Director, African American Studies,
University of South Carolina
addition to the research to be completed on the five
topic areas mentioned above, the project will include
a survey to examine attitudes among majority and minority
races in South Carolina, to determine to what extent
racial prejudice and pre-conceived notions based on
race are extant among the population.
national Brown v. Board of Education 50th
Anniversary Commission will meet in South Carolina
on June 3 through 5, 2003. Established on September
18, 2001, by the United States Congress Public Law
107-41, the Brown Commission was created for the purpose
of encouraging and providing for the commemoration
of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme
Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
Brown Commission members were selected by the President
of the United States, the Secretary of the U.S. Department
of Education, the Attorney General of the U.S. Department
of Justice, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme
Court, the head of the Brown Foundation (for Educational
Equity, Excellence, and Research), the director of
the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the
superintendent of the Brown v. Board of Education
National Historic Site. Members from each of the
four states (Kansas, South Carolina, Delaware and
Virginia) and the District of Columbia, represented
by the Brown v. Board of Education decision
were recommended to the President by the leadership
of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
(It should be noted that the State of Massachusetts
is additionally acknowledged and represented due to
a case for desegregation heard in its state courts
during the mid-nineteenth century.)
Carolina’s presidentially appointed representatives
are Joseph A. DeLaine, Jr. and Carolyn N. Sawyer.
Branch School: This ten-room building in Clarendon
County housed grades 1-12 when the case of
Briggs v. Elliott was filed.
its visit to South Carolina, the Brown Commission
will be honored at a reception to be hosted by BellSouth.
The Commission will hold at least one public meeting
in Columbia. At the meeting, the Institute and other
USC representatives will make presentations outlining
their plans for observing the 50th anniversary
of Brown v. Board of Education. Later, the
Commission will travel to Clarendon County for a day
of observances and other activities. South Carolina
Educational Television has additionally planned a
special taping of the Brown Commission at its studios.
George W. Bush issued a statement upon signing the
law creating the Brown v. Board of Education
50th Anniversary Commission. “The
Commission will advise the Secretary of Education
on activities to help celebrate one of the most important
decisions ever issued by the U.S. Supreme Court—the
decision that recognized the constitutional right
to freedom from racial discrimination in our public
schools.… I look forward to the national celebration
in 2004 of the 50th anniversary of the
Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige declared upon
announcing the appointment of the Commission:
“The Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in
Brown v. Board of Education dramatically opened
the doors of opportunity to countless numbers of Americans,
including me.…The Brown decision is a stark
reminder that we must not rest until all children,
no matter their race or ethnicity, no matter whether
they live in an urban, suburban or rural school district,
no matter whether or not they have a disability, have
access to a high quality education.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “Brown
v. Board of Education was truly a watershed decision
in American jurisprudence. The Supreme Court eliminated
the offensive ‘separate but equal’ doctrine
and laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement
that has been critical to ensuring justice and equality
for all Americans.”
Sheheen, B.A., oversees a program of internships in
Columbia and Washington. He teaches a course in South
Carolina state government in connection with the Columbia
program. He also develops policy papers on public
issues. Previously, Mr. Sheheen served as Commissioner
and Executive Director of the S.C. Commission on Higher
Education for ten years. He has experience as a journalist
and publisher, and was news secretary to Donald Russell
in his service as governor and senator. He is a graduate
of Duke University and the Institute for Education
Management at Harvard University. He holds honorary
degrees from Lander University, Claflin University,
and the Technical College of the Low Country. Mr.
Sheheen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
reprinted by permission from Quest for Equality: Briggs
Descendants Reunion, Scott's Branch High School, Summerton,
South Carolina, May 11, 2002.
additional information about the Brown v. Board of
Education Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration, visit
our web site: http://ipspr.sc.edu/brown
Richard D. Young, Editor in Chief Public Policy & Practice
Institute for Public Service and
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: (803) 777-0453
Fax: (803) 777-4575