Two Delawareans Nominated to Serve on National Committee Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
WASHINGTON, DE – Delaware’s Congressional delegation today announced that at their request, two Delawareans — Littleton Mitchell and Judge Charles Toliver IV — have been recommended to serve on a national committee charged with developing plans to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the landmark civil rights case, Brown v. Board of Education. The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that allowed for separate schools for white and black children, and made public school segregation illegal throughout the United States. A few years earlier, Delaware Judge Collins Seitz ordered two Delaware school districts to open their doors to African-Americans. The famed Delaware civil rights attorney, Louis Redding argued the case. This was the first such ruling of its kind in the nation, and provided a precedent for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The national commission will be comprised of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice; the Judicial Branch; the Brown Foundation; the Brown v, Board of Education National Historic Site; the NAACP and two representatives from each of the five states involved in the decision, Delaware, Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Littleton Mitchell, a long-time civil rights and social activist graduated from Howard High, the state’s only high school that admitted black students, before attending West Chester University in Pennsylvania on a track scholarship. After serving with the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, Mitchell returned to Delaware and became the state’s first black teacher of white students. Since his retirement, he has maintained a rigorous community service schedule â€“ volunteering with Meals on Wheels, the NAACP and Christ Church in Delaware City. “Lit Mitchell is an extraordinary crusader and I am inspired by his example,” Senator Biden said of the former educator and head of the Delaware NAACP. “In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, he has made great personal strides and led the charge to secure fair housing, equal access to public accommodations, and equal educational and employment opportunities in our state. Because of his unyielding commitment and exemplary record of accomplishment, I make this recommendation enthusiastically and without reservation.” “Lit has lived a life dedicated to teaching diversity and tolerance. Focused on breaking down barriers standing in the way of civil rights, he has been a visionary in the fight for equality,” Carper said. “Lit embodies the visionary spirit this board needs. For the fights he’s won for freedom, for fights he’s won for equality today, for the example he leads for tomorrow’s children, I am proud to support Lit’s nomination. The national committee will be strengthened by his leadership.” Judge Charles H. Toliver, IV has served as an Associate Judge for the Superior Court of Delaware since 1990. Prior to his appointment to the Court, Toliver was an attorney with Biggs & Battaglia focusing on medical malpractice, domestic matters and real estate law primarily and served as an attorney with Leonard L. Williams and Associates focusing on similar areas. Judge Toliver has served as an instructor at the University of Delaware teaching courses in domestic relations and civil litigation and currently serves as an instructor at Delaware State University teaching sociology, criminology, African American history and U.S. history. Toliver is very involved in his community, having served on the board of St. Anthony’s Community Center, the Wilmington Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Judge Toliver grew up admiring Louis Redding as a local leader in the national civil rights movement,” said Congressman Castle. “As a child, Judge Toliver can remember Redding fighting for the rights of all children to attend racially diverse schools and receive equal education and treatment. As a young attorney, Judge Toliver admired Redding for his historical role as the first African American attorney to be appointed to the Delaware Bar. Redding fought the hard fights and paved the way to ensuring all African Americans, including Judge Toliver, would have the self confidence and opportunities to succeed in life.” Specifically, the Brown v. Board of Education committee will be charged with planning and coordinating education activities and initiatives in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education; working with civil rights agencies to develop and coordinate observances and submit recommendations to Congress for the purpose of commemorating the anniversary.