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Civil Rights Attorney Lani Guinier Headlines UAlbany's Black History Month Events

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 21, 2013) – Lani Guinier, the first black woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School, is the featured speaker at the University at Albany’s 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Black History Month Luncheon at noon on Thursday, Feb. 7, in the University’s Campus Center Ballroom. The Black History Month Luncheon is free and open to the public.

Civil Rights Attorney Lani Guinier

Civil rights attorney Lani Guinier.

Guinier made media headlines in 1993 when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing. She turned that incident into a powerful personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice.

Before joining Harvard, Guinier was a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. During the 1980s, she led the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and served in President Carter’s Civil Rights Division as special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days.

The author of many articles and op-ed pieces on democratic theory, political representation, educational equity, and issues of race and gender, Guinier has authored The Tyranny of the Majority (Free Press, 1994) about issues of political representation; co-authored with Susan Sturm Who’s Qualified? (Beacon Press, 2001) about moving beyond affirmative action to reconsider the ways in which colleges admit all students; and co-authored with Gerald Torres The Miner’s Canary (Harvard Press, 2002) about the experience of people of color as a warning or “canary” signaling larger institutional inequities.

Seating for the event is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is sponsored by the Division of Student Success, Office of Multicultural Student Success, in cooperation with the Office of the President, Student Association and University Auxiliary Services.

The University’s Africana Studies Department will also host the following events in honor of Black History Month:

  • Dr. R. Baxter Miller of the University of Georgia will speak on A Review of the New Chicago Renaissance Black Writers Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in LC 7. 
  • Student Cultural Expressions Program from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Campus Center Ballroom. Performances by student groups will include dance, poetry, and song.
  • Dr. Janet B. Hess will discuss Richard Mayhew, Transafricanism, and the Black Arts Movement from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Lecture Center 7. Hess is an associate professor of Art History and African Studies in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University.

Visit UAlbany's Black History Month timeline. Check out UAlbany's Black History Month faculty experts.

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