Center for the Study of Race and Law
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Prof. Forde-Mazrui

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Video: Professor
Forde-Mazrui explains the Center's mission.  
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Looking to the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration

The Center collaborated with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Harvard University's Civil Rights Project on "Looking to
the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration
."
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Mission
Brochure

Lawyers cannot fully understand the American legal landscape without studying the impact of race. The Law School founded the Center for the Study of Race and Law in 2003 to provide opportunities for students, scholars, practitioners and community members to examine and exchange ideas related to race and law through lectures, symposia and scholarship. The center also coordinates with the Law School to offer a concentration of courses on race and law, and serves as a resource for faculty whose teaching or scholarship addresses subjects related to race.

Curriculum
Virginia offers courses in civil rights and anti-discrimination law, but equally important is a wide array of courses in constitutional law and history. These offerings reflect the ways in which the struggle for civil rights shaped — and continues to shape — our country and institutions.

Each year the Center for the Study of Race and Law brings a visiting professor to teach a short course. Past visitors include:

Fostering Scholarship

The Scholarly Paper Competition encourages and recognizes outstanding scholarship pertaining to race and law by law students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The top three winning papers’ authors are invited to present an oral summary of their work at a special program held at the Law School. Recognized papers have covered topics such as affirmative action, the Insular Cases and the 14th Amendment, and the response to the crisis in Darfur. Recent winning submissions were accepted for publication in the Virginia Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and Law, and the Virginia Journal of International Law.

Taking Action
The Center for the Study of Race and Law promotes projects that advance racial justice in the legal system. The center partnered with The Sentencing Project to submit a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Kimbrough v. United States that challenged the idea of mandatory sentencing guidelines for the manufacture and distribution of crack cocaine. Sentencing guidelines for powder cocaine recommended a much shorter sentence, suggesting that crack cocaine guidelines are in part motivated by race because they disproportionately affect African-American defendants. The Supreme Court sided with Kimbrough (and the center) and ruled that the sentencing guidelines were not mandatory.

Contact: Center Director Professor Alex M. Johnson Jr.

Mission | Courses | Faculty | Scholarship | News & Events
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