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Shawn Leigh Alexander, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies,  Director of Langston Hughes Center, University of Kansas


In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson told the nation that it was time to “make good the promise of democracy.” He insisted it was not just African Americans, but “all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And,” he assured his listeners, “we shall overcome.” It is difficult for many Americans today to understand just how astounding it was to hear an American president, a southerner no less, say those words. The on-going struggle for civil rights in this country has been an intersection of direct-action protest, legal litigation, and government intervention. This seminar will explore the road to Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the fight for social and political equality in the years before the modern Civil Rights Movement. Participants will learn about this struggle at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, one of the five locations for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court decision, and at the Presidential Libraries of both Eisenhower and Truman, who were uniquely involved in the road to Brown. At all of the sites the participants will get a unique opportunity to gather both secondary and primary material to use in their classroom.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include selections from:

Klinkner, Philip A., and Rogers M. Smith. The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Nichols, David Allen. A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Geselbracht, Raymond H. The Civil Rights Legacy of Harry S. Truman.  Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2007.

Martin, Waldo E., Jr. Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 1998.

Travel & Accommodations

The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, is approximately one hour from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI). Lawrence is located on Interstate 70 just 30 minutes west of Kansas City and 20 minutes east of Topeka. For travel information and driving directions, please visit the University of Kansas website.

Workshop participants will be housed in an on-campus dormitory. Participants will be placed in private rooms, but may share bathroom facilities. The university provides bedding and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, shampoo, hangers, irons, hair dryers, etc. Participants will have access to computer clusters, but many choose to bring laptops. Housekeeping services are provided throughout the week.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.

Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses. Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information, please click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

July 21st, 2013 5:00 PM   through   July 27th, 2013 9:00 AM
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS
United States

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Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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