Last night, more than 700 people came to the Church of the Redeemer to hear Steve Luxenberg, author of the new book, Separate: The Story of Plessy vs. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation, talk about the history of the case and its lasting impact on the country with Chief Judge Robert Bell, the first African-American chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, as part of Open Society Institute’s Talking About Race series and the Enoch Pratt Library’s Writers LIVE series.
Open Society Institute Director Diana Morris opened the event by tracing the country’s shift from slavery to the Jim Crow era and on to the current era of mass incarceration. “We hope that we can use the lessons from history to help guide our advocacy right now and into the future,” she said.
Luxenberg outlined the history and the context of Plessy vs. Ferguson, which provided the legal framework for the Jim Crow laws that followed, and proceeded on a wide-ranging conversation with Chief Judge Bell, which touched on Bell’s role as the plaintiff in another landmark civil rights case, Bell vs. Maryland.
The next Talking About Race event will be on March 25th at 6pm, with Beverly Tatum and Sonja Santelises.