Sponsorships- Power To Inspire 2024

PTI 2024: Courageous Steps

Join us for Power to Inspire 2024 and our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Power to Inspire 2024 will be a theatrical performance entitled Courageous Steps: Bridging the Divide for Equality,” celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Written and directed by playwright, Nikki Toombs, this multimedia presentation will immerse guests in the experiences of minority children during the ‘separate but equal’ era. Through compelling storytelling and interactive content, guests will gain insight into the challenges children faced and be inspired to advocate for equal education for all in the current education landscape.

Click here to learn about the show.

This year’s festivities will be hosted by Emmy-nominated producer and comedian, Roy Wood, Jr., renowned for his wit and humor on “The Daily Show.”

Honorees will be students who took courageous steps to integrate America’s schools; Dr. Cheryl Brown Henderson and others of the Brown decision, Minnie Jean Tricky of the Little Rock Nine, James Meredith, local Atlanta trailblazers, and a special message from Ruby Bridges.

When: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Time: 6:00PM – 9:00PM

Where: The Eastern – Live Music Venue (800 Old Flat Shoals Rd. SE, Atlanta, GA 30316)

See below for sponsorship and host committee members opportunities.

Become A Sponsor

Sponsors will enjoy a VIP/Sponsor-only experience with premium catering, bar service, and a roof-top after party to celebrate the Center’s first decade. The evening will ignite your spirit and inspire your heart!

Your sponsorship will also underwrite the opportunity for up to 1,000 students throughout metro Atlanta to attend a matinee performance of “Courageous Steps,” and participate in a Q&A with the actors and director and playwright, Nikki Toombs.

Click here to view a complete listing of sponsor benefits.

Additional donations to benefit our annual Power to Inspire fundraiser can be made here.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Startup at [email protected].

Join Our Host Committee

Host committee members and VIP ticket holders will have the unique opportunity to receive premium seating, catering and bar service at this year’s Power to Inspire experience. Host committee members and VIP guests will also have the opportunity to attend The Center’s 10th anniversary rooftop celebration afterparty.

Click here to view a complete listing host committee and VIP of benefits.

Additional donations to benefit our annual Power to Inspire fundraiser can be made here.

If you have questions, please contact Suzanne Shaw at [email protected].

Host: Roy Wood Jr.

Roy Wood Jr.ROY WOOD JR. is a comedian, an Emmy-nominated documentary producer for the PBS documentary The Neutral Ground, and a correspondent on Comedy Central’s Emmy-nominated The Daily Show. In 2023, Wood headlined the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, leading to the program’s highest ratings since 2017. 

Forbes declared he is “One of comedy’s best journalists.” Entertainment Weekly has described his thought-provoking comedy as “. . . charismatic crankiness. . .” and Variety Magazine named him “One of 10 Comics to Watch in 2016.”

At the height of the pandemic, Roy raised money for the displaced staff of comedy clubs through tipyourwaitstaff.com and Laugh Aid. In his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, his philanthropic endeavors include supporting Workshops, Inc., which enriches lives by helping people with disabilities and other employment barriers achieve their vocational potential. The DUBS Baseball Academy is an investment in sports to change lives. STAIR of Birmingham, where tutoring empowers students to read better and dream bigger. Also, I See Me, Inc., where the mission is to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by increasing the literacy rates in children of color by engaging them in literature that reflects their culture and image.

Brown v. Board of Education

Throughout the history of the United States, racial injustice and inequity have fueled many court cases, leading to landmark court decisions aiming to eliminate racial tension and division. One of the most important of these court cases is Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas, as it forced the Supreme Court to uphold the 14th Amendment and challenged another landmark case, Plessy v. Ferguson.

Oliver Brown and Linda Brown    danvile newspaper front page  Brown v. Board of Education lawyers   Brown v. Board Families

About the Case

The 14th  Amendment & Plessy v. Ferguson

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States” and provides “equal protection to all under the laws.” However, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) established the constitutionality of laws mandating separate but equal accommodations for African Americans and whites in public areas, essentially legalizing segregation in public places, including schools.

The Five Cases

The legal milestone known as Brown v. Board of Education encompassed five distinct cases presented before the U.S. Supreme Court, all addressing the matter of segregation in public schools. The cases included: 

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka 
  • Briggs v. Elliot 
  • Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.) 
  • Bolling v. Sharpe
  • Gebhart v. Ethel 

Although each case had unique circumstances, they collectively scrutinized the constitutionality of state-endorsed segregation within public school systems.

Thurgood Marshall & Oliver Brown

Almost 50 years after the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, Oliver Brown and other parents were the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which challenged school segregation in Topeka, Kansas. Represented by attorneys from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including Thurgood Marshall, Brown argued that segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Their collective efforts resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, marking a significant victory for the civil rights movement.

Leading the charge was Oliver Brown, the father of Linda Brown, a 3rd-grade student who was denied access to white schools closer to her home and forced to go to a Black school miles away.

The Legal Team

These lawyers, along with others, worked tirelessly to challenge segregation in public schools and advance the cause of civil rights in the United States. Their efforts ultimately led to the historic Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

  • Thurgood Marshall: Marshall was the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. As a prominent civil rights lawyer and later Supreme Court Justice, Marshall played a crucial role in arguing the case before the Supreme Court.
  • Robert L. Carter: Carter was one of the critical attorneys on the legal team. He worked closely with Thurgood Marshall and played a significant role in crafting the legal strategy for the case.
  • Jack Greenberg: Greenberg was another vital member of the legal team. He worked alongside Marshall and Carter in preparing the case and presenting arguments before the Supreme Court.
  • Constance Baker Motley: Motley was a skilled attorney who later became the first African American woman appointed as a federal judge. She was involved in the Brown case and played a vital role in the broader struggle for civil rights.
  • Spottswood Robinson: Robinson was a prominent civil rights lawyer who provided legal support and expertise to the plaintiffs in the Brown case.
  • Oliver Hill: Hill was a civil rights lawyer from Virginia who played a significant role in challenging segregation laws in the South, including his involvement in the Brown case.
  • Louis Redding: Redding was a civil rights lawyer from Delaware who contributed to the legal efforts to desegregate schools in his state and was involved in the broader fight against segregation, including the Brown case.

Division in the Supreme Court

When the Supreme Court initially heard the case in 1953, the justices were so divided that they decided to put it on hold until the Plaintiffs could present new briefs and arguments. When they resumed in 1954, Earl Warren of California, who opposed segregation, was the new Chief Justice. Warren knew the importance of a unanimous decision, but division among the justices continued. Some believed separate but equal was a state’s decision, while others thought it was a federal issue. Warren rewrote the language of the decision, focusing on the effects of segregation rather than the legitimacy of separate but equal institutions until the justices reached a unanimous decision.

The Decision

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separating public school children based on race violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, making it unconstitutional. The decision ended legalized racial segregation and overruling the separate but equal principles of Plessy v. Ferguson. However, the challenge of enforcing the ruling remained. Just over one year later, on May 31, 1955, Warren read the Court’s unanimous decision, now called Brown II, instructing the states to begin desegregation plans “with all deliberate speed.”

The Brown v. Board of Education ruling catalyzed the civil rights movement, leading to the passage of legislation advancing equity, including the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Our Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Center!

PTI 2024 Sponsors

Host Committee

  • Jason Esteves (Co-Chair)
  • Alvin M. Sugarman
  • Anne Kaufold-Wiggins
  • Barbara Frolik
  • Beth and Gregg Paradies
  • Beth and Edward Sugarman
  • Brooke Gram
  • Cathy and Peter Toren
  • Charlotte Bair
  • Che Watkins
  • Edith D. Cofrin
  • Gwen Thompson
  • Henry and Rebecca Chalmers
  • Jean Douglas
  • The Honorable Shirley C. Franklin
  • Judy Lampert
  • Lois L. Frank
  • Pam Sugarman and Tom Rosenberg
  • Sherry Z. Frank
  • Stephanie Kirijan Cooper
  • Suzanne Shaw and Daniel Biddy
  • Tabetha John
  • Tomeca and Earnest Johnson
  • Wilma Sothern

About Power to Inspire 

Our Power to Inspire fundraiser is the single largest gathering of The Center’s community each year.  At this event, we celebrate individuals who have made a significant impact to protect the rights of others. Past honorees have included leaders, activists and scholars such as Joe Biden (after his Vice Presidency); Ted Turner; Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; The King Center; and Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams.

Support from Power to Inspire ensures The Center can deliver on our mission: inspiring people to tap their own power to change the world around them. The Center, which opened in 2014, hosts iconic exhibitions: selections from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection; the history of the civil rights movement in the United States; and stories from the struggle for human rights around the world today. The training and educational programs created by The Center serve as a hub of activity for those who seek to understand and engage in civic life.

If you have questions, please contact us at [email protected].