Leslie Fenwick to Examine the Unfulfilled Promise of Brown in the 20th Annual Brown Lecture on October 19
Leslie Fenwick to Examine the Unfulfilled Promise of Brown in the 20th Annual Brown Lecture on October 19

August 2023

In her Brown Lecture on October 19, Leslie T. Fenwick, professor and dean emerita at Howard University and dean-in-residence at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, will explore the untold story of how the implementation of Brown has maintained segregationists’ control over the nation’s public schools, to the detriment of all students, especially Black students.

In her lecture, titled “Otherwise Qualified: The Untold Story of Brown and Black Educators’ Professional Superiority,” Fenwick offers a newly excavated history of the implementation of Brown. As chronicled in her award-winning book Jim Crow’s Pink Slip (Harvard Education Press), massive resistance from 1952 to the late 1970s resulted in one hundred thousand exceptionally well-credentialed Black principals and teachers being illegally fired, dismissed, or demoted and replaced on a near one-to-one basis by White educators who were less academically credentialed and less professionally experienced.

Fenwick asserts that the failure to integrate Black principals and teachers into desegregating schools remains the unfulfilled promise of Brown, resulting in four traumas that continue to stymie the nation’s progress toward racial justice and educational equity. Fenwick will explore recommendations to overcome this history in her lecture.

“Dr. Fenwick’s groundbreaking work and her fearless voice for educational equity will make this lecture a must-see event,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “We are fortunate to hear and learn from her this year, especially during these turbulent times for the country and our education systems.”

Fenwick is a nationally known scholar with deep expertise in public policy, educational equity, and leadership and leadership studies. Her lecture is inspired by the scholarship of W. E. B. Du Bois and Black art theory and will advance her theory of “cultural elision” to explain how Brown is still mis-defined.

The Brown Lecture will be delivered to an in-person audience at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.,​ and broadcast live on Thursday, October 19, 6:00–7:30 p.m. ET. Fenwick’s talk will be followed by a moderated discussion forum with an opportunity for Q&A. Both the in-person and virtual events are open to the public. There is no cost to register.

Registration will open in early September.