Impact of landmark Brown v. Board of Education case is focus of 2022 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Day keynote

Cheryl Brown Henderson will talk about the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case and its impact as the keynote speaker for the 36th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration.

Henderson is one of the three daughters of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, who, in 1950 along with 12 other parents and attorneys for the NAACP, filed suit on behalf of their children against the local Board of Education.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was the 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement.

Grand Rapids Community College, Davenport University, and Grand Valley State University collaborate annually on events for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration Day. The 2022 keynote is planned for 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE in Grand Rapids.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. Attendees can register at

“Our annual celebration amplifies Dr. King’s historical reflections and philosophies of attaining a fair and just society,” said Latoya Booker, Davenport’s executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “Cheryl’s presentation – ‘Brown v. The Board of Education: The Legacy Continues,’ will inspire attendees to take on persistent barriers to advancing educational equity. We are proud to bring Cheryl to Grand Rapids to share her message with our greater community.”

Henderson is the founding president of The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, and owner of Brown & Associates, an educational consulting firm.

Henderson founded the Brown Foundation in 1988. It has provided scholarships to more than 100 students of color; presented awards to local, state and national leaders; established libraries for children in low-income communities; developed curriculum on Brown for educators across the country; and sponsored programs on diversity and educational issue.  

The Foundation in 1990 successfully worked with Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education National Park in Topeka, Kan., which opened in May 2004. The Foundation in 2001 successfully worked with Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Presidential Commission, which served to provide a federal presence in the 2004 anniversary of the Brown decision.

Henderson has an extensive background in education, business and civic leadership, having served on and chaired local, state and national boards. She also has two decades of experience in political advocacy, public policy and federal legislative affairs.

Henderson has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Emporia State University in Kansas. She has an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Washburn University and an honorary doctorate of Education from the University of South Florida.

To request accommodations to attend this event, please contact the Davenport Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at This event will be held in accordance with local, state and/or federal COVID-19 guidelines.

For more information or to RSVP for the event visit

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