Noted lawyer and author Cheryl Harris of the UCLA School of Law willspeak about the effects of laws in defining race at a free community lectureat 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 at the Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822Wilshire Blvd. Harris' talk is the first in a series of community lecturessponsored by the Center for African American Studies, the Cultural Studiesin the African Diaspora Project and UCLA Extension. The lecture is opento the public.
Harris will discuss the law's involvement in defining and negotiatingrace throughout history. She also will address how in the post-slaveryera, the courts have continued to construct and reformulate race.
Harris teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights, employmentdiscrimination and other courses related to race and law. A graduate ofWellesley College with a B.A. in political science, she received her J.D.in 1978 from Northwestern University School of Law.
After receiving her law degree, Harris practiced in a small community-basedfirm specializing in appellate advocacy and criminal defense work. In 1984,following the election of Harold Washington as mayor of Chicago, Harrisjoined the reform administration as senior attorney in the office of thecorporation counsel.
Harris has published numerous articles in legal journals, includinga groundbreaking piece in the Harvard Law Review called "Whitenessas Property," a look at the historical and ongoing relationship betweenconceptions of race and property in U.S. law. Another major article, "FindingSojourner's Truth," extended her analysis to issues related to race,gender and property.
Harris is also a committed political activist. In 1991, during her termas national co-chair of the board of directors of the National Conferenceof Black Lawyers, she organized and led a delegation of lawyers to SouthAfrica to participate in one of the first major conferences on constitution-makingin a new South Africa. Harris was a founding member of AAWIDOO (AfricanAmerican Women in Defense of Ourselves), an African-American feminist organization,and was an active participant in the campaign opposing the appointmentof Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
For more information, call the UCLA Center for African American Studiesat (310) 206-5384.