Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

September 25, 2013 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander

Associate Professor of Law
Ohio State University

With more African American men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850, mass incarceration has become the new face of segregation in America. Who better to break the silence about racial injustice in our nation's legal system than acclaimed civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander, whose award-winning book The New Jim Crow reveals the devastating social consequences of this systematic discrimination. Join us as she challenges the myth of "justice for all" and proposes some needed reforms.

Michelle Alexander currently holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Before joining the Kirwan Institute, Professor Alexander was an Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics.

In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, her first book. Quickly becoming one of the top African American books when published in 2010, The New Jim Crow won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work of nonfiction, and has been featured on such major media as National Public Radio, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, and C-Span Washington Journal, among others.

Alexander's current work reflects lessons learned in her previous career as a civil rights lawyer and advocate in both the private and the nonprofit sectors. For several years, Professor Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she helped to lead a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. While an associate at Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, she specialized in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

Professor Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court, and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.