Citizens Fighting for Civil Rights: Cases, Places, and Faces that Changed a Nation

Project Team

photo of Jada Kohlmeier

Dr. Jada Kohlmeier

Professor and Program Coordinator of Social Sciences Education

Auburn Univeristy

Dr. Kohlmeier is a national leader in a professional development model that blends the expertise of classroom teachers with content and pedagogy researchers. She is the Associate Director of the Persistent Issues in History Network, a professional network of hundreds of social studies teachers hosting fifty wise practice cases of inquiry-based lessons. During her 10-year tenure as a high school history teacher, Kohlmeier was a James Madison Fellow as well as a finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year in 2002. She was awarded a Milken Family Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001 and twice has been named an AU Outstanding Professor.


Professor and Morris Savage Endowed Chair in Political Science

Auburn Univeristy

Dr. Brown’s research focuses on First Amendment issues and American Legal History. In 2005, his book Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, The Free Speech Clause, and the Courts received the National Communication Association’s Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression. His John McKinley and the Antebellum Supreme Court: Circuit Riding in the Old Southwest (2012) has been cited as a model for researching the lives of antebellum U.S. Supreme Court justices. The Supreme Court Historical Society awarded him its 2017 Hughes-Gossett Senior Prize for his article on the Girard Will.


Robert W. Woodruff Professor

Emory University School of Law

Dr. Perry graduated from Columbia Law School in 1973. He specializes in Constitutional Law, Human Rights Theory, and Law and Religion, and is the author of over eighty-five articles and essays and thirteen books. Since 2003, Dr. Perry has held a Robert W. Woodruff University Chair at Emory University, where he teaches in the law school. He was the inaugural occupant of the Howard J. Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University where he taught for fifteen years (1982-97). He was also the inaugural occupant of the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University (1997-2003). He will share his deep knowledge of the 14th Amendment and its contentious history and application.


Civil Rights Attorney


Mr. Levin is a 1966 graduate of the University of Alabama Law School. He co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 1971, serving in various capacities, including legal director, president and CEO, and general counsel, until his retirement in 2016. In 1976, as a member of the Carter Presidential Transition Team, Mr. Levin supervised the Department of Justice transition and oversaw preparation of briefing books identifying critical issues for the incoming attorney general. Mr. Levin’s extensive litigation experience includes numerous jury and nonjury cases in state and federal courts and proceedings before federal administrative panels.


Associate Professor, Hollifield Professor of History

Auburn University

Dr. Carter is a specialist in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, the history of the American South since the Civil War, and U.S. history since 1945 with a particular research interest in the role of race and ideology in shaping social movements and modern American politics. He teaches political history of the 20th century and has worked extensively with public schoolteachers in eight grant projects using new media and problem-based historical inquiry, serving as lead historian and project consultant on multiple occasions, and leading groups of students and teachers on trips to civil rights-related history sites.


Associate Professor of History

Auburn University

Dr. Blair specializes in U.S. women’s and gender history. She teaches broadly in this subject, but her own research focuses on women and politics in the twentieth century. She is author of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women’s Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980, and is currently working on a book which explores presidential campaigns’ appeals to female voters throughout the 20th century. In addition to women’s history classes, she has also taught courses on 20th century grassroots political movements as well as the general U.S. history survey since 1877. She is well-versed in positioning women’s and gender history into the larger story of American politics.


Writer in Residence

University of South Alabama

Mr. Gaillard has written extensively on southern race relations, politics and culture. He is former Southern Editor at The Charlotte Observer, where he covered Charlotte’s landmark school desegregation controversy. Gaillard has written or edited more than twenty-five books, and his award-winning titles include the following: Go South to Freedom, Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America; and The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Senior Fellow in Social Studies Education

University of Minnesota

Dr. Poch specializes in the civil rights movements of the 1930s and 1940s and the legal education of black lawyers within southern communities and national organizations such as the NAACP. His research includes studies of legal training at the Howard University School of Law and also methods of teaching history within multicultural learning contexts. He is currently writing a post-1954 biography of the legal team that argued the Brown v. Board of Education case.


Assistant Professor Social Studies Education

Auburn University

Dr. Tirado taught high school for 9 years, including 3 years at a diverse arts high school. He has integrated constitutional issues into the history curriculum after admission to the Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute where he developed a unit on the legacy of the 14th Amendment with Professor James Foreman, Jr. Dr. Tirado’s research focuses on the tensions that come with belonging in a multicultural society and how immigration status also plays a role in our classrooms and other learning spaces.


Ph.D. Candidate Social Studies Education

Auburn University

Mr. Phillips taught U.S. History for five years in suburban Atlanta and is now in his final stage as a graduate research assistant at Auburn University working on his doctorate in social studies education. He has supervised interns for four years and taught undergraduate social studies education methods courses. Nick has presented lessons on the Gomillion v Lightfoot case and gerrymandering at the Alabama, Georgia, and National Council for the Social Studies Conferences.


Social Studies teacher and Ph.D Candidate

Auburn University


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Last modified: May 6, 2021