Voting Rights and Voter Suppression in the Age of Obama:
Faculty, lawyers, students and directors of the Center for Law and Social Justice and the DuBois Bunche Center will participate in a symposium - "Voting Rights and Voter Suppression in the Age of Obama: Current Challenges, Historical Perspectives." Co-sponsors also include the Public Administration Department, the MECSPA Student Organization and the School Of Business.
Presenters include Prof. Janai Nelson, St. Johns University Law School; Esmeralda Simmons, Center for Law and Social Justice; Prof. Roger Green, DuBois Bunche Center; Dr. John Flateau, MEC Dept. of Public Administration; and Camille MacIntosh, President, MECSPA.
The symposium will focus on a brief history of the struggle to enact the voting franchise for Black Americans, after its original, deliberate omission in the US Constitution. The Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, Reconstruction, 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments; Ku Klux Klan’s violent Black voter suppression; and the Colfax, Louisiana Massacre will be noted. Landmark US Supreme Court decisions such as US v. Cruikshank; and the “Compromise of 1876” Presidential Election, both of which terminated federal protection of Southern Black voters and elected officials, will also be discussed. The symposium will conclude with a discussion of the 20th and 21st century voting rights struggles, legislation and Supreme Court cases; voter suppression tactics in the 2012 re-election of President Barack Obama; the role and impact of redistricting; and recommendations to eliminate the historically persistent damage of voter suppression to American democracy.
About the Presenters:
John Flateau, Ph.D., Chair of the Public Administration Department and Senior Fellow and co-founder of the DuBois Bunche Center, Dr. Flateau is a Professor of Public Administration. Dr. Flateau was Chief of Staff to Mayor David Dinkins; Senior Vice President of the NYS Urban Development Corporation; Dean of the School of Business, and Dean of Institutional Advancement at Medgar Evers College. Dr. Flateau’s research areas are in urban policy, economic development, voting rights, legislative redistricting, census demographics, campaigns and elections, diversity management, and governmental processes.
Hon. Roger L. Green, Executive Director of the DuBois-Bunche Center, is a Distinguished Lecturer in Public Administration at Medgar Evers College. From 1981-2005 he served as an elected member of the New York State Assembly. During his tenure in the State Legislature, Green was widely acknowledged as an expert on educational reform and children and family policies. A longstanding advocate of civil and human rights, Green worked within the legislative process to enact numerous laws that reflected his commitment to these principles.
Janai S. Nelson is Associate Professor of Law and the Associate Director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law. In addition to conducting research on election law and voting rights issues, Prof. Nelson’s most recent article, The First Amendment, Equal Protection, and Felon Disfranchisement: A New Viewpoint, 64 Fl. L. Rev. 111 (2013), explores the intersection of the First Amendment and equal protection clause in reconsidering the constitutionality of felon disfranchisement.
Esmeralda Simmons is Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to founding the Center, Simmons served as the First Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights for New York State; as a Civil Rights Attorney for the US Department of Education; a New York State Assistant Attorney General; and a New York City Assistant Corporation Counsel. An activist and a leader, she has been involved in progressive political causes for over thirty-five years. As an attorney, she specializes in racial justice issues, voting rights, and cultural rights.
February 7, 2013
Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Avenue
Academic Complex I
Edison O Jackson Auditorium