Program at AFI Theatre Highlights Brown 50th Anniv.

May 7, 2004
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), in collaboration with the American Film Institute (AFI), will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, in a special evening of film and discussion on the effects of the landmark Supreme Court decision and further steps needed to fulfill the promise of Brown.

The commemoration event will take place on Monday, May 17, at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road in Silver Spring, beginning with a reception at 6:45 p.m. followed by a program from 7:45 until 9:30 p.m.

The evening of remembrance and exploration will be moderated by Renee Poussaint, former news anchor and co-founder (with Camille Cosby) of the National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP) that is developing an archive of videotaped interviews with extraordinary African American elders.

Highlights of the program include:

• Discussion by George Stevens, Jr., producer, director, screenwriter, and founding director of the American Film Institute, using clips from his Emmy-award winning TV miniseries, SEPARATE BUT EQUAL. This 1991 movie detailing the Brown decision stars Sidney Poitier in the role of Thurgood Marshall. Joining Stevens in the discussion will be Claudio Sanchez, education correspondent, National Public Radio, and James Forman, Jr., professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center.

• Discussion by a panel of local leaders on work being done and yet to be done in Montgomery County to ensure that the promise of Brown is a reality for all residents. Panel participants will include Sharon Cox, president, Montgomery County Board of Education; Michael Subin, member, Montgomery County Council; Odessa Shannon, executive director, Montgomery County Human Rights Commission; Henry Hailstock, president, Montgomery Branch of the NAACP; Henry Lee, board member, Asian American Political Alliance; and Nancy Navarro, co-director, Centro Familia.

• Comments from Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools; Reginald M. Felton, vice president, Montgomery County Board of Education; Douglas M. Duncan, county executive, Montgomery County; and Steve Silverman, president, Montgomery County Council.

• Presentation of historical monologues by students from Eastern Middle School.

• Video interviews of one of the attorneys from the Brown case and local residents who attended segregated schools in Montgomery County.

Admission to the commemoration event is by reservation only. Persons wishing to attend should contact MaryKay Able-Grapsas at 301-279-3364 or

For more information, contact Kate Harrison, MCPS Department of Communications, at 301-279-3853 ( or Joan Kirby, American Film Institute, at 301-495-6747 (

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