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January 29, 2009

Civil Rights Attorney Theodore Shaw Will Discuss ‘Obama’s Post-Racial America’ Feb. 24

Talk is part of the Presidential Lecture Series on Diversity

As a part of the Presidential Lecture Series on Diversity, Theodore Shaw, Esq. will present the talk, “Reflections on Race and Identity in Obama’s ‘Post-Racial’ America,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, room 104.
The event, which is the keynote address for the College’s celebration of Black History Month, is free and open to the public. The lecture is sponsored by the President’s Office and the Office of Intercultural Development.

Lafayette Celebrates Black History Month
Shaw served on the Obama transition team at the U.S. Department of Justice and teaches at the Columbia University School of Law. He was president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund from 2004 to 2008 and was involved in numerous landmark cases during his tenure with the organization.

He served as lead counsel of a coalition that represented African American and Latino students in the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions case. He also argued the Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger cases challenging the use of affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School before the United States Supreme Court in 2003.

Shaw worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., from 1979–1982, litigating civil rights cases throughout the country at the trial and appellate levels and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Shaw currently serves on the Legal Advisory Network of the European Roma Rights Council, based in Budapest, Hungary.

Shaw graduated from Columbia Law School in 1979. He received his undergraduate degree, with honors, from Wesleyan University. Shaw has received numerous honors and awards, including the Lawrence A. Wein Prize for Social Justice from Columbia Law School, and the A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Memorial Award conferred by the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He has served on both Columbia Law’s Board of Visitors and the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees. Previously, he has taught at the University of Michigan Law School, Temple Law School, CUNY School of Law, and served as a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School.

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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