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November 2, 2007

Harvard Law Professor and Civil Rights Activist Lani Guinier will Speak Nov. 29

Lecture is part of the Presidential Speaker Series on Diversity

As part of the Presidential Speaker Series on Diversity, author, Harvard law professor, and civil rights activist Lani Guinier will present “Lift Every Voice” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104.

Free and open to the public, the lecture is also sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Development.

Guinier came to national attention in 1993 when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing. That experience is one of the key themes in her personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice (1998).

In 1998, Guinier became the first black woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School, where she currently serves as Bennett Boskey Professor of Law. Before joining the Harvard faculty, she was a professor of law for 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania. During the 1980s, she was head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter administration as special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days.

Guinier is author of numerous articles and books on democratic theory, political representation, educational equity, and issues of race and gender. Her books include The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (2002), co-author Gerald Torres; Who’s Qualified?: A New Democracy Forum on Creating Equal Opportunity in School and Jobs (2001), co-author Susan Sturm; Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law Schools and Institutional Change (1997), co-authors Jane Balin and Michelle Fine; and The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy (1994).

She has received many awards, including the Champion of Democracy Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus; the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession; and the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association of Affirmative Action. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Radcliffe College.

The Presidential Speaker Series on Diversity was initiated in 2000 to encourage intellectual discourse on diversity. Historian Douglas Brinkley, who authored a biography of Rosa Parks, was the inaugural speaker in the program. Other past lecturers have included Angela Davis, an activist and professor at University of California-Santa Cruz; David Levering Lewis, a Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant; and Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

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