Cadwalader to Host Reenactment 'Constance Baker Motley, James Meredith, and the University of Mississippi'

January 31, 2017

On February 8, 2017, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP will host a reenactment of James Meredith’s historic battle to integrate the University of Mississippi, represented by Constance Baker Motley of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  The reenactment is drawn from transcripts of the court proceedings, woven together with narration to create the script for a performance that will feature three federal judges as well as Cadwalader attorneys.

This particular reenactment was initially created for the Just the Beginning conference celebrating the legacy of Judge Motley held in New York City last year.  Under the leadership of Judge Denny Chin of the Second Circuit and Kathy Hirata Chin, Senior Counsel at Cadwalader, a team of Cadwalader attorneys drawn from the Firm’s Affinity Networks conducted research for and developed the script for performance by a cast comprised principally of federal judges and other individuals associated with the Just the Beginning organization.  That performance took place at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on September 15, 2016. 

For the performance at Cadwalader, two of those judges, Hon. William F. Kuntz II and Hon. Margo K. Brodie, both of the Eastern District of New York, will return to the stage.  Judge Kuntz will play Thurgood Marshall and Judge John Minor Wisdom; Judge Brodie will play Mrs. Motley.  They will be joined by a supporting cast drawn from the Firm’s Affinity Networks, most particularly its Black & Latino Association.  The partner sponsors of the CBLA, Managing Partner Patrick Quinn and Partner Cheryl Barnes, will play judges of the Fifth Circuit.  CBLA Chair Zaki Robbins will play James Meredith.  Judge Chin and Kathy Chin will reprise their roles as Narrators. 

This is the seventh historic reenactment hosted at Cadwalader.  Five of those reenactments were developed and presented by the Asian American Bar Association of New York, including “Heart Mountain: Conscience, Loyalty, and the Constitution” and most recently “The Vietnamese Fisherman v. The Ku Klux Klan.”  Last summer, the Firm hosted The Trial of Ethel Rosenberg.  The Firm is proud to host “Constance Baker Motley, James Meredith, and the University of Mississippi” as part of its celebration of Black History Month, sharing with clients and friends this important moment in American history, presented through the actual words spoken in the courtroom decades ago. 

Cadwalader’s Affinity Networks provide Firm attorneys with unique opportunities to receive professional development support and to develop leadership skills, expand their professional networks both internally and externally, and work with Firm leaders to help the Firm better leverage the talents and diversity of all of its attorneys.  The Affinity Networks have proved to be a powerful incubator of ideas for the Firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.  Current affinity networks include: Cadwalader Asian Pacific American Attorney Resource Group; Cadwalader Black & Latino Association; Cadwalader LGBT Network; Cadwalader Veterans Network; and Women’s Leadership Initiative.