In January 1950, Mary Church Terrell, an 86-year-old charter member of the NAACP, was refused service at a cafeteria a few blocks from the White House. Three years later, on June 8, 1953, she won a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., Inc., that invalidated segregated Washington restaurants and paved the way to the landmark school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education a year later. Ms. Quigley argues for the seminal role of Thompson and Mary Church Terrell in civil rights history, which typically begins with Brown.
Joan Quigley is an attorney and journalist. She is the author of two books: Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital (Oxford University Press 2016) and The Day The Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy (Random House 2007). She received the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, administered by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. A graduate of Princeton, William & Mary Law School and Columbia Journalism School, her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, time.com, nationalgeographic.com and The Daily Beast. Some of the books she has enjoyed reading in recent years include The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster 2013) and The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward.
The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.
The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support. Reservations requested because of limited seating.