Jan. 4, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 7

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    Lani Guinier is keynote speaker at annual University celebration honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr.

    Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    Harvard law professor and one-time Clinton Justice Department nominee Lani Guinier will deliver the keynote address at the University’s ecumenical observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The free program will begin at noon on Monday, Jan. 15, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

    President Randel will officially welcome everyone, and several student and community groups will perform dramatic and musical works. The University’s Black Law Students Association will host a reception and book signing with Guinier at the Law School immediately following the 90-minute program.

    “The lecture will focus on Martin Luther King Jr.’s message that by freeing black people we free America itself,” said Guinier, who argues that America must change its hierarchies. “We need to shift from a strategy of repopulating hierarchies to bring in more women and people of color to transforming hierarchies to the benefit of everyone.”

    In 1993, Guinier received national attention when President Clinton nominated her to be the first black woman to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and then withdrew her name without a confirmation hearing. That experience inspired her to speak out on issues of race, gender and democratic decision-making as well as write Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice. In 1998, she became the first black woman to be named a tenured professor at Harvard Law School.

    Guinier has headed the Voting Rights program at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where she litigated cases throughout the South. In 1988, she joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where she co-authored a book with Michelle Fine and Jane Balin on women and legal education titled Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law Schools and Institutional Change.

    In addition to Guinier’s public address, the program will include performances by the dance troupe Groupo Folklorico Internationale and drama students in the University Theater School Partnership Program.

    The University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is free and open to the public.