Celebrate Black History Month with Fordham Law


This February, Fordham Law School will celebrate Black History Month with multiple virtual events. In recent years, we have celebrated and honored the lives and work of alumni we’ve lost—including Ruth Whitehead Whaley ’24, Eunice Carter ’32, and Reginald Brewster ’50. Black History Month this year will kick off with the memorial for the Honorable Deborah A. Batts and the launch of the new Deborah A. Batts Scholarship on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The memorial for the Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce ’51, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, will conclude the month’s programming.

Celebrate Black History Month with Fordham Law through virtual events this February and read more about the important contributions of Black faculty, students, and alumni to the legal profession and beyond.

  • Memorial for the Honorable Deborah A. Batts and the Introduction of The Deborah A. Batts Scholars

We will reflect on memories of the Hon. Deborah A. Batts, a trailblazing legal scholar and pioneering jurist, as well as celebrate her extraordinary life and the indelible mark she made on the Fordham Law community. To honor the late Judge Batts, Fordham Law School will also launch a new scholarship program and announce its very first recipients.

Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.

Join Buffalo Toronto Public Media for a screening and panel discussion of the documentary “A Bridge to Justice: The Life of Franklin H. Williams.” Williams was a civil rights leader, lawyer, and Peace Corps organizer. This half-hour documentary explores the life of Franklin H. Williams that includes archival Oval Office audio of President Lyndon Johnson and then-Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall discussing Williams; insightful interviews with former Chief Judges Sol Wachtler and Jonathan Lippman; introspective footage of the Ambassador’s son and namesake; and other interviews. The documentary is narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6 to 7 p.m.

In this program, panelists will share their personal stories about overcoming mental health challenges and discuss how their experiences were shaped by their membership in historically marginalized groups. The panelists will also offer strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion within the lawyer well-being movement, as well as tips and resources for diverse law students and lawyers who seek assistance, support, or a stronger sense of belonging within the legal community.

Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 4:30 p.m.

In the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests in the United States, the 2021 Fordham International Law Journal Symposium topic will focus on the manifestation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the issue of racial and ethnic discrimination around the globe.  Panelists will include judges, scholars, and activists within and outside of the Fordham community well versed in civil and human rights issues in an international context. Conversation will surround an identification of the particular issues in jurisdictions outside of the United States as well as ongoing proposed solutions.

Friday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. CLE credits will be available.

Fordham’s Black Law Students Association will be hosting a celebration honoring Black Fordham Law alumni who have blazed trails for future Black lawyers by attaining significant achievements in the legal industry and beyond.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Anne Williams-Isom, FCLC ’86, serves as the James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies at the Graduate School of Social Service. As a member of the President’s Council at Fordham University, the former CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone will share her perspective on the intersection of law and public policy towards social justice. Professor Clare Huntington will explore critical issues with Chair Williams-Isom in recognition of her contributions to child welfare within communities of color. 

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Fordham Law will be holding an interactive virtual event to honor the late Hon. Lawrence W. Pierce, U.S. Circuit judge.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. RSVP by Friday, Feb. 19. Password to register is LWP.

The election of Kamala Harris as Vice-President has been celebrated as marking a series of firsts: the first woman, first Black American, and the first person of South Asian descent to serve as Vice-President.  And of course, before that Barack Obama was celebrated as the country’s first Black president. These are markers of progress, and yet as Covid-19 has put in sharp relief, unequal racial outcomes persist.  Indeed, Black men in the U.S. earn 51 cents on average for every $1 earned by white men, the same as in 1950.  So what does the future hold for Black people, especially given that this country is projected to tip from being majority-white to majority-minority by 2044? And what role can law—and lawyers—play in shaping that future?  This Black history month, the Center brings together scholars to discuss Black future.

Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.


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