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Citadel News Service

For Release
Feb. 17, 2004

Citadel symposium to explore African-American education in S.C.

          The Rev. Joseph Albert DeLaine was an ordinary man who wanted his children to receive an education equal to that of whites in the 1950s. He never realized this single desire would lead him to the center of a landmark event in U.S. history.

          A decade later in 1961, attorney Matthew Perry championed the cause of a young black man named Harvey Gantt to enroll in Clemson University. When Gantt - who would go on to become mayor of Charlotte - enrolled a year later, it marked the end of segregated higher education in South Carolina.

          A lot has changed, or has it? That's one of many questions that will be explored during a Feb. 26 symposium at The Citadel. "African American Education in South Carolina: Past, Present and Future" features Perry, DeLaine's son, Joseph DeLaine Jr., and Beatrice Rivers, and others who witnessed how the civil rights movement affected schools in South Carolina and elsewhere.

          "Fifty years after the landmark decision, Americans are still evaluating the consequences of the court case and pondering how to address persistent disparities in education that prohibit African American social advancement," said Marcus Cox, Citadel professor of history.

          Joining Perry, DeLaine, and Rivers at the symposium will be Richard W. Riley, former S.C. governor and U.S. Education Secretary in the Clinton administration, Lorin Anderson, distinguished professor of education at the University of South Carolina and expert witness in Abbeville County School District v. the State of South Carolina (1996), and Stephen G. Morrison, a partner of Nelson Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, L.L.P. and lead attorney representing the Abbeville County School District. Rivers and DeLaine Sr. were original plaintiffs in the South Carolina lawsuit of Briggs v. Elliott, which later became part of the landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision in 1954 declaring the separate but equal doctrine unconstitutional.

          Claudia Brinson, staff writer at The State newspaper in Columbia, will moderate the 6:30 p.m. symposium in the Holliday Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Ave. The symposium is sponsored by The Citadel Department of Multiculturalism and the School of Education. It is free and open to the public.

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