Legal Scholar to VisitGAMBIER, Ohio (January 16, 2007) Faculty Lectureships will present Derrick Bell, visiting professor of law at New York University School of Law, on Thursday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Higley Auditorium. Bell will deliver the Martin Luther King Address, titled "Martin Luther King: Was He a Twentieth Century Jesus?" The event is free and open to the public.
Bell is a pioneering scholar in the sociological school of thought known as critical race theory, which challenges traditional assumptions about the issue of civil rights in the United States. Bell was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Duquesne University in 1952 and earning his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957. Thurgood Marshall urged him to join the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where Bell worked on hundred of cases of school desegregation. In 1966, he was appointed deputy director of civil rights for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
In 1971, Bell became the first African-American to receive tenure at Harvard Law School. He wrote Race, Racism, and American Law, which continues to be a standard legal text nationwide, for the civil-rights course he created there. He subsequently became the first African-American to serve as dean of the law school at the University of Oregon.
Bell is the author of numerous works, including Silent Covenants: Brown vs. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform; and Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth.