Campus News

Law school commemorates 50th anniversary of landmark court case

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision, the School of Law will host a program on April 7 to reflect on the past, evaluate the present and discuss the future of educational integration, specifically at the UGA law school.

UGA’s first African-American law graduate will deliver the 97th Sibley Lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Chapel. A 1966 graduate of the law school, Chester C. Davenport is currently the managing director of Georgetown Partners, a private merchant-banking firm based in Bethesda, Md.

Prior to founding Georgetown Partners in 1988, he was the chairman of GTE Consumer Services, a cellular company, and Envirotest Systems Corporation, the world’s leading provider of auto emissions testing services. He served as assistant secretary of transportation for policy and international affairs from 1977 to 1979 during the Carter administration.

A panel discussion with prominent African Americans who have a connection to the law school follows. In addition to Davenport, the panelists are Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham, UGA’s second African-American law graduate and the first African American to serve on Georgia’s Supreme Court; current third-year law student Francys Johnson; Sharon “Nyota” Tucker, the first African-American female law graduate at UGA and now an ­assistant professor at Albany State University; and U.S. District Court ­Senior Judge Horace T. Ward, the first African American to seek admission to UGA’s law school. Law school associate professor Larry Blount will moderate the panel discussion.

Concluding the day’s program will be a commemorative dinner featuring Tucker as the keynote speaker. Prior to becoming a professor, Tucker worked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in San Francisco and Georgia Legal Services in Albany, and served as an attorney in private practice. In 1991, she was selected as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow and traveled to southern Africa to study social and economic changes in that region of the world.

The dinner will be held at the Holiday Inn downtown and is open to the public. For cost and reservations, contact Lisa C. Mathis at 542-7959.

The Brown v. Board of Education program is sponsored by the Charles Loridans Foundation of Atlanta in tribute to the late John A. Sibley, a 1911 graduate of the law school.