ABA Young Lawyers to Travel to Memphis to Mark 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board
CHICAGO, April 8, 2004 – Members of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will travel to Memphis to mark the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and present a trial reenactment of the landmark Supreme Court decision.
The event will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 30, at the Cannon Center for Performing Arts in Memphis during the Spring National Public Service Conference of the ABA Young Lawyers Division.
The trial will demonstrate the 1951 proceedings that took place in Topeka, Kan., and will serve as a tutorial on trial skills for members of the legal community as well as a demonstration of the legal system at work for Memphis area elementary school students who will attend.
“Brown v. Board is a true testament of our legal system’s ability to establish and protect equal rights for all Americans,” said YLD Chair Jonathan Cole, a Nashville lawyer. “It is important that we understand and uphold the ideals of Brown v. Board so we can continue to push for progress against social injustice.”
The plaintiff’s counsel will be played by Jock M. Smith, a founder and partner of Johnnie Cochran’s national civil law firm, Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith. Stephen Morrison, a Columbia, S.C., lawyer, will play the opposing counsel.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education was the result of years of legal battles in school districts across the country, including Topeka, Kan. Cases from Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia were argued together before the Supreme Court on the legal premise that separate can never be equal, and that racial segregation enforced by law in and of itself violates the rights of equal protection, liberty and the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision declaring that segregated schools are inherently unequal, and violate the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is the ABA’s largest entity, composed of approximately 130,000 members. The mission of the Young Lawyers Division, as the national organization of young lawyers, is to provide leadership in serving the public and the profession, and to promote excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law and a wide range of services to help lawyers and judges in their work.