And Justice For All?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 05:30AM Add to Outlook

This WURD Speaks symposium will engage a conversation between Harvard University professor Charles Ogletree, and legal scholar Michelle Alexander as they examine the criminal justice system’s devastating effect on the African-American community.    Both presenters have recently published highly acclaimed books on this topic. Professor Ogletree’s “The Presumption of Guilt,” uses last year’s arrest of Harvard scholar, Henry Louis Gates, as the fertile ground to explore “race, class and crime in America.”   And Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” challenges the notion that, with the election of an African-American president, we have moved into a post-racial society.  In fact, it’s just the opposite, she argues: “Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850).”

Event Panelists

Charles Ogletree
Professor of Law, Harvard UniversityCharles J. Ogletree is Jesse Climenko Professor at Harvard Law School, the founder of the school's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and the author of numerous books on legal topics, including
"The Presumption of Guilt.
Michelle Alexander
Associate Professor of Law, Ohio State UniversityMichelle Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University and a civil rights advocate, who has litigated numerous class action discrimination cases and has worked on criminal justice reform issues. She is a recipient of a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship of the Open Society Institute, has served as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and was a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun at the U. S. Supreme Court. Michelle Alexander has published the book "The New Jim Crow," in which she argues that systemic racial discrimination in the United States has resumed following the Civil Rights Movement's gains, implicit but legalized and of devastating social consequences, with the domestic War on Drugs and other governmental policies. She considers the scope and impact of this current law enforcement, legal and penal activity to be comparable with that of the Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her book concentrates on the mass incarceration of African-American men.