Teachers College at Columbia University honored prominent civil rights figures last week with the college’s medal for distinguished service to education.
Teachers College President Arthur Levine presents Coretta Scott King with an honorary degree last week.
Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, David Levering Lewis, and the Brown family of Topeka, Kan., were recognized for their contributions toward civil rights and equality in the classroom.
Cheryl Brown Henderson, a daughter of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, the principal plaintiff in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case challenging racially segregated public education, represented the Brown family. The suit was filed on behalf of her sister, Linda Brown.
In 1988, Ms. Henderson helped establish the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence, and Research, which seeks to improve educational equity and multicultural understanding.
Ms. King, 75, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lewis, 62, a U.S. representative from Georgia, were honored for their contributions during the civil rights movement. From 1963 to 1966, Mr. Lewis served as the chairman the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which organized student sit-ins and freedom rides.
David Levering Lewis, 66, serves as the Martin Luther King Jr. university professor at Rutgers University and is a historian and civil rights leader.
New York City-based Teachers College is the largest graduate school of education in the United States. During the 1950s, it became a magnet for blacks seeking college degrees. Aside from historically black colleges and universities, it has one of the nation’s highest graduation rates for African- Americans seeking graduate degrees in education.
—Marianne D. Hurst
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A version of this article appeared in the May 29, 2002 edition of Education Week