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King celebration to feature Derrick Bell Jan. 22

Derrick BellKing celebration to feature Derrick Bell Jan. 22

Derrick Bell, visiting professor at the New York University Law School and author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well, will be the keynote speaker at U.Va.'s celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday. The free public event will be held Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.

"Looking to the Future Through the Eyes of the Dreamer" is the theme of this year's community-wide celebration. Sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs, the program will include poetry and drama, as well as a book signing in Old Cabell Hall immediately following Bell's talk.

A civil rights activist for nearly 40 years, Bell is a well-known essayist, author and legal scholar. His textbook, Race, Racism and American Law, first published in 1971, is used in civil rights courses across the country. One of the most popular of his seven books, Faces at the Bottom of the Well (1992), consists of allegorical stories on racial issues.

A native of Pittsburgh, Bell received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. His early career included stints as a Justice Department lawyer, a staff attorney of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and director of the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles.

In 1969, he became the first black professor at the Harvard Law School and became its first black tenured faculty member in 1971. Bell gained notoriety when he resigned in 1989 because the law school refused to appoint a black woman professor. He then became dean of the University of Oregon Law School, but resigned that post two years later in protest when the school refused to offer a faculty position to an Asian-American candidate after two white male candidates declined the offer.

Since 1991, Bell has been a visiting professor at the New York University Law School. He teaches and lectures around the country and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs.

For information, call Cornelius L. Bynum, interim director of the Luther P. Jackson Cultural Center, at 924-7923.


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