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KWC to Host Chautauqua*

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The Kentucky Wesleyan College History Department will host a Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua about U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan on Monday, November 29, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. in Hager Hall at the Ralph Center. Edward B. Smith of Cynthiana, Ky., will portray Harlan (1833-1911), a Kentucky lawyer and politician. The public is invited.

During Harlan’s 33-year tenure on the Supreme Court, he dissented in some of the court’s most important civil rights cases, earning him the title, “The Great Dissenter.” In one of the most famous dissents in U.S. Supreme Court history, Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the constitutionality of segregation, Harlan wrote, “Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows or tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.”

His words were an inspiration to Thurgood Marshall during the Civil Rights Movement. Marshall was the NAACP chief counsel who would later be appointed to the Supreme Court. He cited Harlan’s dissent as he argued to end segregation in the 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education.

Kentucky Chautauqua brings fascinating characters from Kentucky’s past to life. The Kentucky Humanities Council tells Kentucky’s story and celebrates the contributions of Kentuckians to the quality of life in the Commonwealth.

For more, visit the website for the Kentucky Humanities Council. Here’s a video describing the Kentucky Chautauqua series:

* You know you were wondering — from merriam-webster.com: Chautauqua — any of various traveling shows and local assemblies that flourished in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that provided popular education combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts, and plays, and that were modeled after activities at the Chautauqua Institution of western New York.

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