Chief Justice Shepard coming for law office opening ceremony
Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court will be in Corydon next week to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision and for the opening ceremony of the reconstructed Coburn-Porter Law Office on the square in Corydon.
Shepard will speak at a luncheon at the Leora Brown School in Corydon on Friday, Sept. 24, about the Brown decision that officially outlawed segregated education in the United States 50 years ago.
The Leora Brown School, formerly the old Corydon Colored School, was built in 1891 and functioned as a segregated school until 1950. Segregated education was eliminated in Corydon prior to the 1954 decision.
The school was renamed for Leora Brown Farrow who had attended elementary and secondary grades at the Corydon Colored School. After attending Miss Blaker’s Teachers College in Indianapolis, Farrow returned to Corydon in 1924 to teach at the Colored school; she remained there until it closed in 1950.
Cost for the luncheon is $15. Reservations must be made no later than Wednesday, Sept. 22, by calling 738-3376 and leaving a message. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Leora Brown School. Seating is limited to 100 people.
The Harrison Crawford Bar Association, Cinergy Foundation and Community Unity are sponsoring the luncheon.
Following the luncheon, at 2:30 p.m., Shepard will participate in the opening of the reconstructed Coburn-Porter Law Office, located between Gov. Hendricks Headquarters and the Wright Interpretive Center.
The original frame building was built for the law office of Henry P. Coburn, who served from 1819 to 1852 as Clerk of the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana. Coburn graduated from Harvard College in 1812, was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and located in Corydon in 1816, the year Indiana became a state.
Coburn, who was active in civic affairs and very liberal with his time and money to help others, organized one of the first Sunday Schools of Corydon, which met in the Senate Chamber of the First State Capitol. When the capital was moved to Indianapolis in 1825, Coburn also moved due to his official duties as Clerk of the Supreme Court. Coburn deeded the ground and the building to Judge William A. Porter of Corydon, a 1824 graduate of Miami University in Ohio.
Porter came to Corydon in 1824 to teach in the Harrison County Seminary. He read law and was elected judge of the Harrison Probate Court in 1829. For more than 50 years, Coburn used the little frame building as his law office.
One of Judge Porter’s more promising young students was Walter Q. Gresham of Lanesville, who held various positions in the U.S. District Courts and cabinet offices until his death. At that time he was serving as Secretary of State under President Grover Cleveland.
The opening ceremony for the reconstructed law office is sponsored by the Friends of Corydon Capitol and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. The building is the latest addition to the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site.
For more information about the ceremony, call 738-4890.
Shepard, a native of Lafayette, became Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court in 1987 at the age of 40; he was the youngest chief justice in the United States.
He graduated cum laude in 1969 from Princeton University, earning an A.B. degree and a certificate in urban studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He earned his J.D. degree in 1972 from Yale Law School, and received his LL.M. degree in 1995 from the University of Virginia Law School in 1995.