Office for Civil Rights
Annual Report to Congress FY 2004

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Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission

In 2001, President Bush signed legislation that established the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission for the purpose of encouraging and providing for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark May 17, 1954, decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racially segregated schools to be unconstitutional. OCR was primarily responsible for organizing and managing the commission. Over the past three years, the commission disseminated information about the Brown decision through lectures, town hall meetings, writing contests and public service announcements. The programs included:

Brown promised access to school for all children, regardless of their skin color. Today, No Child Left Behind aims to go beyond that question of access: Now that everyone can walk into the schoolhouse door unimpeded and unafraid, we have to make sure that they receive a high-quality education.”

Rod Paige
Secretary of Education, March 25, 2004

  • The Latino Pursuit for Excellence in U.S. Public Schools: Mendez (1946) and Brown ;
  • Today and Beyond, Advocating Equality for All: The Impact of Women Civil Rights Activists on Brown ; and
  • Making the Spiritual Practical: The Impact of the Faith Community on Brown.
Each program addressed the impact of Brown on current educational policies. The U.S. Department of Education also commissioned artwork for a commemorative poster, which was disseminated to every school district in the country.

On May 17, 2004, at the opening of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan., President Bush said, “On this day, in this place, we remember with gratitude the good souls who saw a great wrong, and stood their ground, and won their case. And we celebrate a milestone in the history of our glorious nation.”

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Last Modified: 11/01/2007