Cheryl Brown Henderson (Brown vs. BOE) and others
Wayne Presbyterian Church in suburban Wayne, PA, long committed to Southwest community activities will host a trio of outstanding speakers at its month-long celebration of Black History Month in February:
Cheryl Brown Henderson (February 5, 7:00 p.m.), granddaughter of Rev. Oliver Brown, a principal in the class action suit “Brown vs Board of Education, and founder of the Brown Foundation for Education Equity… “The Brown vs. Board of Education Legacy Continues.”
Penny Washington (February 12, 9:30 a.m.) Historian, author, and consultant for the People’s Light Theater Company: “Right Here: “The Main Line Fight for School Integration.”
Constance McAlister, (February 19, 9:30 a.m.) Philadelphia Educator and Principal (Retired) Bartram High School:
“Brown vs. BOE: Things Change as They Remain the Same.
Wayne Presbyterian Church, at 125 East Lancaster Avenue in the center of Wayne, PA, can also be conveniently reached via the SEPTA R5. The large church parking lot is immediately adjacent to the Wayne station.
Ms. Henderson has been a national leader in the continuing civil rights fight for education excellence for Blacks and other minorities. Her foundation was established in 1988 as a living tribute to the attorneys and parents in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1954 Brown v. Board of Education.
The” Brown” decision signaled the end of legal segregation on the basis of race in this country. Henderson’s grandfather, Rev. Oliver Brown was one of the 13 parents in Topeka Kansas who, sponsored by the Topeka NAACP, filed suit to confront the misguided “Separate but Equal” guidelines spelled out in the Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson in1896.
Following Brown, the Supreme Court applied the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution to other disadvantaged groups, such as women, immigrants, and illegitimate children.
Ms. Washington, a local historian and writer in West Chester, PA, was most recently the consultant for the world premiere performance of “Bayard Rustin at Ashland ” at the People’s Light & Theater Company in nearby Malvern, PA. Rustin dedicated his life to advocating for racial equality and was a principal organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. Also a native of West Chester, Rustin frequently hosted such NAACA leaders as W.E.B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson at his home there.
His views on non-violent advocacy influenced Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Constance McAlister was for many years the beloved principal of John Bartram High School. Following her retirement there, she took on the incredibly challenging principal’s position at Chester High School – previously one of the lowest performing 9-12 schools in the state.
Wayne Presbyterian designated Southwest Philadelphia as its primary outreach focus more than two decades ago. It organized the CityLights Ministry, a unique urban-suburban faith-based partnership which helped local SW community organization share needs and resources. It also allowed Wayne church members to participate in community activities with such members as Cornerstone Christian Academy, Mitchell Elementary School, Southwest Community Development Corp, and Myers Recreation Tots program.
In 2010, Wayne initiated The Common Place, a ministry at the ground-up renovated New Spirit Church (Westminster Presbyterian Church) at Chester Avenue and 58th Street. The Common Place sponsors a range of after school and enrichment activities for neighborhood families and children and is SW home base for the expanding Salt and Light Congregation.