Court TV will mark the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education
with a series of programming and event elements beginning later this year.
The network will partner with AOL Time Warner Inc. to produce several vignettes featuring prominent African-Americans and other celebrities and leaders reflecting on the impact and the legacy of the Brown
decision, which led to the desegregation of U.S. schools, said network officials.
AOL Time Warner and Liberty Media Corp. each own 50% of Court TV.
The vignettes will premiere in the fall and run through the anniversary of Brown, in May 2004. Court TV will unveil two of the vignettes, featuring AOL Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons and U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, during the NAMIC Conference Sept. 16.
Both Parsons and Paige are slated to speak at a conference luncheon to offer perspectives on the Brown decision, diversity as it relates to education and the entertainment industry, and the impact Brown has had on their personal and professional lives, said the network.
"I think it is most appropriate that we are announcing our partnership with AOL Time Warner and the Brown vs. Board of Education
50th Anniversary Commission at the NAMIC Mentoring Luncheon," said Schleiff. "Part of the legacy of Brown is the recognition of the fundamental fairness and importance of equal education and equal opportunity."
Court TV is also planning to develop a documentary in 2004 that will provide an overview of the landmark decision.
For AOL Time Warner's part, the company in 2004 will produce a special Time for Kids
magazine supplement commemorating the decision, as well as hold a youth town hall meeting in Topeka, Kan., at the Brown vs. Board of Education
National Historic Site.
Kobe access denied
In other Court TV news, the network was rebuffed last week in its attempts to gain courtroom access to the upcoming preliminary trial hearing in the trial of basketball star Kobe Bryant.
Eagle County District Court Judge Frederick Gannett on Sept. 8 ruled against allowing cameras in the Oct. 9 hearing for Bryant, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old worker at a Colorado resort during his stay there this past June.
"According to our constitution, trials are meant to be public, and we believe that all citizens — not just the print press or those few who can fit into a courtroom — should be able to watch their judicial system in action," Schleiff said in a statement.
"However, while we are disappointed by Judge Gannett's ruling, our network's policy is not to appeal decisions regarding camera access by the presiding judge in any trial. We respect Judge Gannett's decision and will not contest it."