18th Annual Brown Lecture In Education Research

18th Annual Brown Lecture In Education Research

Program begins at 6:00 PM EDT



Felice J. Levine
American Educational Research Association


Na'ilah Suad Nasir
American Educational Research Association
The Spencer Foundation


Lori Patton Davis
The Ohio State University


Walter R. Allen
University of California, Los Angeles

Lori Patton Davis
The Ohio State University

Kayla C. Elliott
The Education Trust

Adam Harris​
The Atlantic


Felice J. Levine
American Educational Research Association



National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman‘s poem "The Hill We Climb"—among the most powerful moments of the 2021 Presidential Inauguration—inspired the central inquiry of this year‘s Brown Lecture: Why are we still climbing the hill of educational equity 67 years after the U.S. Supreme Court‘s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education? In her lecture, Lori Patton Davis challenges dominant narratives surrounding Brown and introduces perspectives that might help account for our lack of progress—perspectives that typically are overlooked or erased in wider Brown discourses. Her scholarly analysis contributes a robust understanding of Brown and its historical and contemporary meanings in the sociopolitical contexts of racism and White supremacy.

Patton Davis considers pressing questions: How can study of the circumstances that have intensified the COVID-19 pandemic fuel collective understanding of racial inequities and intersectional injustices in education? How might a critical race lens guide educators, policymakers, and researchers toward a more progressive realization of the promises of Brown? What would it take for education researchers, the majority of whom are situated in postsecondary settings, to engage in activism modeled after the work of communities still fighting for the racial and educational equity envisioned in Brown?

This webinar will broadcast live on ZOOM.
ASL interpretation and captioning will be provided.
Please register in advance.



A highly respected and accomplished researcher, Patton Davis is the co-author and co-editor of several important books on college student development and the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and other academic publications appearing in highly regarded venues such as the American Educational Research Journal, the Journal of Higher EducationUrban Education, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Her research has been cited in multiple publications and funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, and numerous other organizations. 


Walter R. Allen is Allan Murray Cartter Professor in Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also Distinguished Professor of Education, Sociology, and African American Studies. Allen directs CHOICES, a longitudinal study of college attendance among African Americans and Latinos in California, and is co-investigator for “Educational Diversity in U.S. Law Schools,” a study of race, ethnicity, teaching and learning in legal education. Allen’s research interests include higher education, race and ethnicity, family patterns and social inequality. He has been a consultant to courts, communities, business and government. Allen has authored or coauthored 150 publications and has appeared widely in the news media, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS 60 Minutes, and NBC Nightly News.

Kayla C. Elliott is director of higher education policy at The Education Trust, where she leads the team and agenda on promoting access, accountability, and affordability for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Before taking on a leadership role, Kayla was a policy analyst on the team, focusing on state and federal accountability policies such as student protections, resource equity, and outcomes-based funding. Elliott has worked on P-20 education issues for more than a decade. Prior to Ed Trust, Kayla held various roles at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where she earned a Ph.D. in higher education leadership. She has worked with a range of nonprofit education organizations, including Lumina Foundation, the Southern Education Foundation, and Teach For America.


Adam Harris​ is a staff writer at the Atlantic where he has covered education and national politics since 2018. He is the author of The State Must Provide, a narrative history of racial inequality in higher education. Previously, Harris served as a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he covered federal education policy and historically black colleges and universities. In 2021, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was a National Fellow at New America. Harris’s writing has appeared in BBC, B/R Mag, EBONY Magazine, and ProPublica.





AERA 2021-22 President Na’ilah Suad Nasir is the sixth president of the Spencer Foundation. Prior to her appointment at Spencer in 2017, she served as the vice-chancellor of equity and inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was professor and Birgeneau Chair in Educational Disparities. Nasir’s research focuses on issues of race, culture, and learning. Her numerous articles have appeared in the American Educational Research JournalTeachers College RecordEducational Researcher, and Phi Delta Kappan, among others. Her books include Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement Among African-American Youth (2011); Mathematics for Equity: A Framework for Successful Practice (2014); and We Dare Say Love: Supporting Achievement in the Educational Life of Black Boys (2018).


Felice J. Levine is executive director of the American Educational Research Association, where she champions the advancement of knowledge and use of sound research to guide policy and practice. Her areas of expertise include science policy, research ethics, data access and sharing, and the scientific and academic workforce. Her current projects include the development of a research data hub to connect data resources, foster new scholarly networks, and build research capacity in STEM education; an initiative to examine the impact of and foster academic support for open science products; and a study of the impact of COVID-19 on doctoral students and early-career researchers. Levine chairs the Board of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, co-chairs the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM, and is on the Board of the Consortium of Social Science Associations. Levine is also a Past President of the Law and Society Association and recent Past President of the World Education Research Association.


  • ACPA-College Student Educators International
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Institutes for Research
  • American Political Science Association
  • American Statistical Association
  • Baylor University
  • Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  • College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University
  • College of Education and Human Development, Bowling Green State University
  • College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • College of Education and Human Sciences, University of New Mexico
  • College of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • College of Education North Carolina State University
  • College of Education University of Iowa
  • College of Education, Michigan State University
  • College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Council of Graduate Schools
  • East Carolina University College of Education
  • Foundation for Child Development 
  • Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Kent State University, College of Education, Health, and Human Services
  • Learning Policy Institute 

  • Loyola Marymount University School of Education
  • Lumina Foundation
  • NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
  • National Communication Association
  • Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
  • Sage Publications
  • School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University
  • Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University
  • Spencer Foundation
  • Stanford Graduate School of Education
  • Texas Christian University College of Education
  • The College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation at New Mexico State University
  • The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
  • The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • University at Albany, State University of New York
  • University Council of Educational Administration 
  • University of Hartford College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions
  • University of Maine, College of Education and Human Development 
  • University of Maryland, College of Education
  • University of Rochester Warner School of Education and Human Development
  • University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development
  • Wheelock College of Education and Human Development Boston University



The Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research illuminates the important role of research in advancing understanding of equality and equity in education. The Lectureship was inaugurated in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court took scientific research into account. Each year a distinguished scholar notable for producing significant research related to equality in education is invited to give this public lecture in Washington, D.C.


Na’ilah Suad Nasir • Shaun Harper • Felice J. Levine • George L. Wimberly • Michelle Knight-Manuel • Jamel Donnor • Vinetta Jones


2020 - William F. Tate IV, University of South Carolina
2019 - Prudence L. Carter, University of California, Berkley
2018 - H. Richard Milner IV, Vanderbilt University
2017 - Alfredo J. Artiles, Arizona State University
2016 - Marta Tienda, Princeton University
2015 - Teresa L. McCarty, University of California, Los Angeles
2014 - James D. Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2013 - Gary Orfield, University of California, Los Angeles
2012 - Vanessa Siddle Walker, Emory University
2011 - Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin, Madison
2010 - Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University
2009 - Luis C. Moll, University of Arizona
2008 - Stephen W. Raudenbush, University of Chicago
2007 - Margaret Beale Spencer, University of Chicago
2006 - Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University
2005 - Claude M. Steele, Stanford University
2004 - Edmund W. Gordon, Teachers College, Columbia University


The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. With members from 96 countries, AERA is committed to expanding its connections to the global research community, and is actively involved in advancing the field of education research worldwide.