Brown v. Board and Civil Rights: A Commemoration

Jul 2, 2024 - Jul 2, 2024 | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Join the African American Program for a conversation marking the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

In recognition of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the History Center’s African American Program will host a discussion with teachers, activists, and students to discuss this seminal moment in history and its impact today.

While the case ended legal school segregation and declared separate educational facilities to be inherently unequal, the court did not guide the implementation of Brown v. Broad and left its enforcement to school districts. Ten years later, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed, prohibiting discrimination in public places and employment. Civil Rights assisted in forcing the issue of removing discrimination, yet it did not provide a clear framework for school implementation for students or increasing minority hiring practices in the classroom. The execution of the ruling was met with resistance nationwide and led to challenges that continue to affect schools seventy years later.

During this commemorative program, educators will discuss issues that stemmed from the decision and share resources and information on how to advocate for public education today. Current high school students and recent graduates will then present on a variety of topics affecting education to give attendees a sense of how the landmark decision has impacted schools for the last 70 years.

This program is part of Civic Season, presented in partnership with Smithsonian and the History Made By Us national coalition, and the History Center initiative, America 101.

America 101 engages the public to learn American history through public programs, special exhibitions, digital learning tools, and educational curriculum.

America 101 is supported by Nimick Forbesway Foundation.

Call for Student Presentations

The African American Program is seeking high school students to present on a topic related to Brown v. Board of Education (1954) or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 during this program on July 2.

Participants in the program will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Learn more about submission and eligibility guidelines here.


Brown v. Board and Civil Rights: A Commemoration is free to attend and will be held in the museum’s fifth floor Mueller Center.

Please contact DaNia Childress at dchildress@heinzhistorycenter.org or 412-454-6395 for additional questions.

Image credit: Students and a teacher in classroom on the opening day of Herron Hill Middle School, October 6, 1976. Pittsburgh Public Schools Photographs, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.

Herron Hill Middle School was located in the Hill District and had a nearly entirely Black student population when it opened in October 1976. By this time, the Board of Public Education at Pittsburgh Public Schools was embroiled in a multiyear battle to resist desegregating its schools in accordance with a 1968 order from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The PHRC denounced the lack of integration in its student body, referring to the school as another instance of “de jure [legal] segregation.”

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