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In May, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the doctrine of “separate but equal” unconstitutional, outlawing segregation in public schools with its ruling in the landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education.

Fifty years to the month after that historic decision, author and education scholar Jack Dougherty discusses the impact of the Brown case in the Lawrence University address, “Looking beyond ‘Brown’: What we will — and won’t — hear on its 50th Anniversary.” The lecture, Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 202, is free and open to the public.

Dougherty, assistant professor and director of the educational studies program at Trinity College in Connecticut, will examine the commonly accepted historical understandings of the Brown case, offer a new interpretation of Brown that will challenge assumptions about school desegregation and provide insights for educational reform in the 21st century.

A specialist on the connections between educational history, policy and practice, Dougherty is the author of the 2004 book “More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee.” In tracing the history of reform movements in Milwaukee from the 1930s to the 1990s, Dougherty challenges traditional views that suggest African Americans offered a unified voice concerning the Brown decision. He argues instead that black activists engaged in multiple, overlapping and often conflicting strategies to advance African Americans by gaining greater control over schools.

A former high school social studies teacher, Dougherty teaches courses on educational policy and education reform at Trinity. He earned his Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dougherty’s appearance is co-sponsored by the Lawrence English and history departments.