Press Release


University of Chicago Professor Gerald N. Rosenberg and University of California, Berkeley Professor Ian F. Haney López respond and discuss the role of the Court in bringing about social justice

CHICAGO – The pending appointments that President George W. Bush will make to the Supreme Court in his next four years have once again made the Court’s role in shaping American society and culture a hot topic for discussion across the country.

On Thursday, December 2nd at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place at 6:30 p.m. in the Illinois Black Legislators Auditorium, the Illinois Humanities Council will foster debate on this topic with “The Court as an Instrument of Racial Justice: Plessy, Brown, and Michigan .” This program will address the Supreme Court’s impact, both positive and negative, on the nation’s struggle for racial and social justice.

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 Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago and The DuSable Museum of African American History are co-sponsors of this event.

Theodore M. Shaw, Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the organization founded by Thurgood Marshall that led the legal battle in the Brown v. Board of Education case, will give the keynote address. He is Lecturer in Law at Columbia University and was lead counsel representing minority undergraduate students in the University of Michigan case that was decided by the Supreme Court in 2003. Shaw has a long history of litigating school segregation and housing discrimination cases.

Gerald N. Rosenberg is Associate Professor of Political Science and Lecturer in the College of Law at the University of Chicago. Author of The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?, Rosenberg examines the use of the courts to promote civil rights, abortion reform, and women’s rights.

Ian F. Haney López is Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice and White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race. Haney López writes about the legal history of the Mexican-American civil rights struggle.

“The Court as an Instrument of Racial Justice: Plessy, Brown, and Michigan 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 going on around Illinois from May 2004-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 at

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.


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